Study Guide

Bomb: The Race to Build-and Steal-the Worlds Most Dangerous Weapon Principles

By Steve Sheinkin


Principles are something that you would never want to go through life without having, and yet sometimes they're the exact things that will get you in trouble. (We're not talking about the ones who are in charge of school discipline—those are different and spelled differently.) Principles can be kind of hard to really nail down until they're called into question and one is compelled to take a stand. Throughout Bomb: The Race to Build—And Steal—The World's Most Dangerous Weapon many characters are forced to question their own sets of principles, and some are put into situations that really put them to the test.

Questions About Principles

  1. Oppenheimer seems to be the most principled character in the book. What are some of his core beliefs that help shape his actions?
  2. Klaus Fuchs refuses payment for his espionage. What does this say about his moral justification for his behavior?
  3. Who would you say is the least principled character in Bomb? Why?
  4. Do any of the characters act against their better judgment due to outside factors? How does this affect them?

Chew on This

By the end of the war, President Truman abandons his own set of principles to succumb to political pressures and the greater good of his country.

If Oppenheimer hadn't been so vocal about his core set of values, perhaps he wouldn't have made such a big target for Strauss to take down, and he would have been able to continue working for the government.

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