|Shop Indie Bookstores|
"A Nuclear Family Vacation" is a journey through an entire system that seems both unimaginative and odd. Hodge and Weinberger, a married couple, decided to spend their vacation time over the course of two years doing something rather imaginative: going somewhere they both of them wanted to go, which turned out to be "key nuclear weapons sites." Some of these were more accessible than others, and it seems that almost all of them were made slightly more accessible by the author's journalism credentials, and as the vacations piled up, Hodge and Weinberger realized they were learning more about the nuclear complex than they thought they would at the outset: the Cold War might be over, but as the numbers I gave at the start prove, the nukes aren't gone. Entire labs, even mini-cities, are devoted to the general upkeep and storage of nuclear weapons: both their maintenance and safety, and ensuring that they still work, without testing them. I learned more about the Bikini Islands than I have ever heard before, but only in the most literal, physical sense. "A Nuclear Family Vacation" is a travelogue, which is a slightly strange way to present the information in the book, but it really is possible that Hodge and Weinberger didn't set out to write a book, and it really is a readable, if slightly motley book. On the other hand, for dorks like me with a true pacifist, anti-nuke bent, the information falls slightly short: I kept waiting for More, and the travelogue genre doesn't really allow for that. Perhaps the book is most successful in this way, as a travelogue with a twist that leaves you searching for more.