Burning the Sky

Published December 6, 2018

An important feature of my book is the extensive bibliography that serves as a clear roadmap for my readers. A valuable new resource that richly deserves to be added to that reading list is Mark Wolverton’s Burning the Sky: Operation Argus and the Untold Story of the Cold War Nuclear Tests in Outer Space (New York: The Overlook Press, 2018). While my primary focus was on the non-military ¬†applications of nuclear energy, Mr. Wolverton’s latest contribution is a gripping description of the little-known military efforts known as Project Argus and Operation Fishbowl that were conducted in 1958 and 1962 respectively. This clearly written account of those tests is based upon interviews with principal actors in the unfolding drama and recently declassified records and deserves a wide audience. At just 272 pages in length it is a fast read and is lavishly illustrated with rare period charts, maps, and photographs. The story he tells is is not only absorbing it is also highly relevant today as we ponder both the global environmental impacts of those tests and the crucial distinction between the militarization and the weaponization of space. His previous books include A Life in Twilight: The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer and The Depths of Space: The Story of the Pioneer Planetary Probes.