A Nuclear Family Vacation, By Nathan Hodge & Sharon Weinberger

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The Independent Culture

Despite the perplexing title and cover (mum, dad and kid posing on a Fat Boy atom bomb), this book is exactly what it claims to be. A bright journalistic couple tour atomic weapons facilities in the US and beyond.

The result is chilling and often very funny. By the time you reach page 14, you've learned: a) the US is still spending the same amount in real terms ($6.61 billion per year) on nuclear weapons as at the height of the Cold War; b) a series of nuclear tests were named after types of cheese.

The duo's destinations range from the Nevada Test Site, where both pigs and humans were subject to the effects of radiation (the effects on the latter were "probably not good", although they survived) to the Marshall Islands, where 67 devices totalling 100,000 kilotons were exploded. Astonishing.

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