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“Riveting and poignant . . . The Winter Fortress metamorphoses from engrossing history into a smashing thriller . . . Mr. Bascomb’s research and, especially, his storytelling skills are first-rate.”—The Wall Street Journal “Weaving together his typically intense research and a riveting narrative, Neal Bascomb’s The Winter Fortress is a spellbinding piece of historical writing.” — Martin Dugard, author of Into Africa and co-author of the Killing series In 1942, the Nazis were racing to complete the first atomic bomb. All they needed was a single, incredibly rare ingredient: heavy water, which was produced solely at Norway’s Vemork plant. Under threat of death, Vemork’s engineers pushed production into overdrive. If the Allies could not destroy the plant, they feared the Nazis would soon be in possession of the most dangerous weapon the world had ever seen. But how would the Allied forces reach the castle fortress, set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on earth? Based on a trove of top-secret documents and never-before-seen diaries and letters of the saboteurs, The Winter Fortress is an arresting chronicle of a brilliant scientist, a band of spies on skis, perilous survival in the wild, Gestapo manhunts, and a last-minute operation that would alter the course of the war. “A taut and peerlessly told adventure story full of thrills, derring-do and heart-stopping tension.” — Seattle Times “Told with both historical and scientific accuracy . . . this book has rocketed into my pantheon of the top suspense-filled stories about [World War II], along with The 900 Days and The Colditz Story.” — Ethan Siegel, Forbes
From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of Hunting Eichmannand The Perfect Mile, a World War II spy adventure set in Norway that draws on top-secret documents and memoirs of the saboteurs"
It's 1942 and the Nazis are racing to build an atomic bomb. They have the physicists, but they don't have enough 'heavy water' – essential for their nuclear designs. For two years, the Nazis have occupied Norway, and with it the Vemork hydroelectric plant, the world's sole supplier of heavy water. Under threat of death, its engineers push production into overtime. For the Allies, Vemork must be destroyed. But how could they reach the plant, high in a mountainous valley? The answer became the most dramatic commando raid of the war: the British SOE brought together a brilliant scientist and eleven refugee Norwegian commandos, who, with little more than parachutes, skis and tommy guns, would destroy Hitler's nuclear ambitions. Based on exhaustive research and never-before-seen diaries and letters, The Winter Fortress is a compulsively readable narrative about a group of young men who survived the cold of a Norwegian winter and evaded the clutches of the Gestapo, to save the world from destruction.
A stunning adventure involving Nazis, nukes, fighting, failure, and everyday heroes, from the author of the award-winning The Nazi Hunters. Neal Bascomb delivers another nail-biting work of nonfiction for young adults in this incredible true story of spies and survival. The invasion begins at night, with German cruisers slipping into harbor, and soon the Nazis occupy all of Norway. They station soldiers throughout the country. They institute martial rule. And at Vemork, an industrial fortress high above a dizzying gorge, they gain access to an essential ingredient for the weapon that could end World War II: Hitler’s very own nuclear bomb. When the Allies discover the plans for the bomb, they agree Vemork must be destroyed. But after a British operation fails to stop the Nazis’ deadly designs, the task falls to a band of young Norwegian commandos. Armed with little more than skis, explosives, and great courage, they will survive months in the snowy wilderness, elude a huge manhunt, and execute two dangerous missions. The result? The greatest act of sabotage in all of World War II.
“An exciting and dramatic episode.”—Library Journal “Cliff-hanging suspense.”—Christian Science Monitor Assault in Norway is the classic account of a legendary raid on the Nazi war program. By 1942 Germany had a seemingly insurmountable lead over the Allies in developing an atomic bomb. Contributing to this situation was its access to a crucial ingredient: “heavy water,” found in great abundance at a fortresslike factory in occupied Norway. Allied hopes of stalling the Nazi nuclear program soon focused on sabotaging the cliffside plant—a suicidal mission. But a team of brave Norwegian exiles, trained in Britain, infiltrated their homeland and, hiding in the wilds, awaited the opportunity to launch one of the war's most daring commando raids. Basing his gripping narrative in large part on interviews with the commandos themselves, Thomas Gallagher recounts in vivid detail the planning and execution of Operation Gunnerside. Assault in Norway recalls the intrigue found in such wartime classics as David Howarth's We Die Alone and The Sledge Patrol, and the mission it recounts inspired the 1965 Hollywood film The Heroes of Telemark.
Heavy water (deuterium oxide) played a sinister role in the race for nuclear energy during the World War II. It was a key factor in Germany's bid to harness atomic energy primarily as a source of electric power; its acute shortage was a factor in Japan's decision not to pursue seriously nuclear weaponry; its very existence was a nagging thorn in the side of the Allied powers. Books and films have dwelt on the Allies' efforts to deny the Germans heavy water by military means; however, a history of heavy water has yet to be written. Filling this gap, Heavy Water and the Wartime Race for Nuclear Energy concentrates on the circumstances whereby Norway became the preeminent producer of heavy water and on the scientific role the rare isotope of hydrogen played in the wartime efforts by the Axis and Allied powers alike. Instead of a purely technical treatise on heavy water, the book describes the social history of the subject. The book covers the discovery and early uses of deuterium before World War II and its large-scale production by Norsk Hydro in Norway, especially under German control. It also discusses the French-German race for the Norwegian heavy-water stocks in 1940 and heavy water's importance for the subsequent German uranium project, including the Allied sabotage and bombing of the Norwegian plants, as well as its lesser role in Allied projects, especially in the United States and Canada. The book concludes with an overall assessment of the importance and the perceived importance of heavy water for the German program, which alone staked everything on heavy water in its quest for a nuclear chain reaction.
The story of how a desperate clandestine mission in Norway ended the Nazi dream of building the atomic bomb.

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