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Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb Hardcover – June 5, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809094681
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809094684
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Trinity illuminates a turning-point in human history, and does so with admirable pace, grace, and skill.” —Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

“Succeeds as both a graphic primer and a philosophical meditation.”
Kirkus (starred review)

“Fetter-Vorm’s work . . . is altogether exemplary. And the writing’s as good as the art, making this a strong primer on the A-bomb’s development.”

"The story behind the weapon that ended World War II and changed the nature of international conflicts forever, Trinity covers both the scientific, technical side of building the bomb and the very human side of realizing what its existence would mean for mankind."

“A succinct, compelling, and dramatically illustrated history of the making of the atomic bomb, Trinity is an excellent primer for students and younger readers.”
—Cynthia C. Kelly, founder and president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation and editor of The Manhattan Project

“The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the creation of the first atomic bomb lies deep in our collective imagination. Jonathan Fetter-Vorm’s graphic novel honors the physics, the politics, and the human drama of this contemporary morality tale in a manner that is as informative as it is entertaining.”
—John Adams, Pulitzer Prize winner and composer of Doctor Atomic

“The story of the Manhattan Project has rarely been told with this much clarity and alertness to moral nuance.”
—Joseph Kanon, author of Los Alamos

“A hugely important story told with virtuosity and heart, Jonathan Fetter-Vorm’s Trinity is a standard-bearer for great comics.”
—Nick Bertozzi, Harvey Award–winning author of The Salon and the Rubber Necker series

About the Author

Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is the illustrator of recent graphic adaptations of Beowulf and Moby-Dick. He lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

I'm a fan of graphic novels on non-fiction topics.
Scott Berkun
Furthermore, anybody who is a visual learner will appreciate the simple way the science behind the bomb is presented.
Ryan A. Potter
Highly recommended for people with interests in both history and comics/graphic-novels.
Ed Martinez

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Scott Berkun on June 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I'm a fan of graphic novels on non-fiction topics. By putting techniques from comics and illustration at the forefront of the book, there is a power to convey complex ideas in salient ways that transcends written language. Books like LogicComix and The Book of Genesis by Crumb take on ambitious topics with grace, style, potency and charm.

The book Trinity, by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm of Two Fine Chaps, takes on the development of the first atomic bomb. He describes the planning, the personalities, and, with great style, the science involved in how they developed the ideas behind the bomb. It's a short book, as most graphic novels are, but the illustrations will last long in my mind.

If you've been intimidated by Rhodes classic The Making of the Atomic Bomb and want a gentler introduction into the central history, issues, science and drama, this book is a great place to start. It's also appropriate for young adults (the illustrations of the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end are moving more than graphic).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Bissell on July 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best histories leave you wanting to know more about their subject, and Jonathan Fetter-Vorm's "Trinity" excels in that regard. Given the book's format, I hadn't expected to learn all that much about fission or nuclear science or uranium refining, but Fetter-Vorm does an admirable job of packing in details, and makes full use of the unique potential afforded by graphic books to render complex reactions and physical phenomena into understandable (and excellently done) illustrations.

Although the subtitle bills it as a "history of the first atomic bomb," "Trinity" focuses most of its attention on the human aspects of its development: the driven and often eccentric personalities who headed the project, the colossal organizational challenges they faced, the impact of the bomb's successful construction on politics and diplomacy, and -- in some of its most stirring passages -- the immediate experience of an atomic explosion, whether viewed from a safe distance or ground zero. The book succeeds in its ambition to peer past the visceral, awesome power of nuclear weapons to the people and the historical forces which brought them into being.
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Format: Hardcover
The months of research and testing for atomic weapons, which had started out of curiosity by the world's most brilliant minds, led to the momentous and terrible bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This critical period in modern history is expertly detailed in Jonathan Fetter-Vorm's brilliant debut graphic novel, Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb.

Trinity is a historical, scientific, and largely nonfiction work, with dialogue between historical figures taken primarily from first-hand written accounts of the events to preserve historical accuracy. The early part of the novel is focused primarily on the discovery of the atom and radioactive elements through the works of Pierre and Marie Curie, Niels Bohr, Ernest Rutherford, Otto Hahn, and Fritz Strassmann. Large and often confusing concepts and processes, such as the nuclear fission, uranium enrichment, and the construction of an atomic bomb, are broken down into using detailed yet easy to follow illustrations and concise language. The bold leadership of the troubled genius J. Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie Groves is laid out with exquisite clarity, highlighting the painstaking efforts taken to keep information from leaking, the magnitude of the operation, as well as their attempts to keep the project on schedule. Though the beginning of the novel is rather heavy on the side of scientific fact, Fetter-Vorm's highly detailed black-and-white art is often filled with dynamic imagery and emotional portraits of the scientists, which in turn keeps readers hooked.

The suspense comes to a boiling point with the Trinity test--the first detonation of a nuclear explosion out in the deserts of New Mexico.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M. Helmke on November 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book strives and succeeds at two tasks. It tells an accurate history of the facts and events leading up to the creation of the first atomic bomb through its use by the United States in the destruction of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasake. It also successfully prompts the asking of philosophical questions that humanity must wrestle with when faced with such destructive power.

Throughout the black and white illustrated book, the graphics are clear and compelling. You feel the emotions of each moment, the fears and the excitement, the hope and the despair. You look into the eyes of the participants and feel their complexity and depth. This set of people were not monochrome in their beliefs, but complex and this comes through.

The events are told clearly, using a linear style that also incorporates both flashbacks and foretelling. It does so to great effect. Throughout, we get just enough scientific explanation to make the complexity of the topic clearer, using descriptions that are easy to understand while also technically accurate and complete enough to be meaningful.

All this is good. But there is one thing that this book accomplishes that is even better. It makes you think. This is no mere scientific or historic text, although it is both of these. It is also a philosophical springboard to deep meditation. This is a very good thing. You start by feeling alongside the participants the excitement of a scientific quest as they ask, "Can it be done?" You end with the same question most of them ended with, "Should it be done?"
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More About the Author

Jonathan Fetter-Vorm is an author and illustrator. He was born and raised in Montana and currently lives in Brooklyn.

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