Olivia Waite is a romance author, practicing feminist, and wide-ranging dilettante.
I've been reading a lot of atomic-age history books lately. A LOT. So I was prepared to go over material I'd seen before. And the 'rise and fall' narrative of radiation's discovery and military application is not uncommon, either.
But the voice of this book! The moments the author lets himself synthesize information and offer actual thoughts on what he's describing -- stating that Lise Meitner was treated shabbily by history, discussing how Marie Curie's love life after Pierre's death has been erased as a blot against her scientific legacy, his way of detailing the many moral failures of Edward Teller without actually writing down "Edward Teller was an asshole on a major scale" the way I'm always tempted to... The author's voice is controlled, compelling, sophisticated, passionate, and humane. I went more slowly through it than I could have, just because every other paragraph sparked some idea in my writer-brain. That kind of book is worth its weight in gold. A+, ecstatically recommended, would read again.