On July 16, 1945 the United States tested it’s first atomic weapon at Trinity Site in the desert in New Mexico. The “gadget”, as it was called, was detonated at 5:29:45 (Mountain War Time) . The explosion caused the desert sand to crater and become radioactive green glass, which they named Trinitite. There were reports of people hearing the explosion and windows rattling up to 200 miles away from the blast site. The gadget had a blast equivalent to 18 kilotons of TNT. Merely weeks later (August 6th and 9th) we dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. Days later Japan surrendered.

On December 21, 1965 the Trinity Site was declared a National Historic Landmark. The site is only open to the public twice a year, on the first Saturdays in April and October.  More than sixty years later, an hour long visit to the site is equal to half the radiation you’d get on a normal day.

All of that info was taken from Wikipedia.org. So it must be true!

Trinity Fields by Bradford Morrow
Morrow’s novel tells the story of two boys, Bryce and Kip, who grow up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, sons of scientists working on the atomic bomb during the 1940s and ‘50s. They grow up closer than brothers, and when they go off to college in the 1960s, Vietnam comes along and changes their friendship.

The book is in two parts. The first part is mostly flashbacks of Bryce and Kip growing up in New Mexico and is in Bryce’s first person point of view. The second part still has a lot of Bryce’s first person in it, but it adds to it some of Kip’s story in the third person about his tours in Vietnam and his living in Laos.

The book was great and very well-written. There are times when I thought the book was getting too verbose, but the author does two things I love:
1. The sentences are so well-written they flow in a rhythm and
2. Most of the wordy parts were when the author was describing the landscape of New Mexico. After several pages of this I realized that he was using the landscape as another character, and I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for that every time. It was amazing how at times, he could make the  desert seem like a dry, arid nothing, and then come back and paint it as a paradise for the boys to run to make their escape.

The book jumps around in time quite a bit, but it was not hard to follow. The only thing I really had trouble with was figuring out the characters’ ages at different times, and I was never sure what year the present was. This could have just been me not paying attention because honestly, I was sucked into the story and kept wanting to find out what was going to happen next that I did get lazy with my note taking.

I enjoyed this book immensely, but I think I’m one generation off from really enjoying the fullness and scope of the whole novel. If you’re a Baby Boomer, you’d probably get even more out of the book than I did. My favorite part of the book was in the first part where Bryce and Kip run away to an old adobe church in the desert to try to atone for their fathers’ sins of bringing on the Atomic Age. My heart ached for those boys who grew up thinking that their fathers were heroes working on a project that would end war, and then coming to the conclusion that what they actually did was make a terrible weapon that killed hundreds of thousands of people. The boys couldn’t reconcile. And that’s a universal idea, especially in the U.S. I think, most children probably do think their parents are perfect and infallible, and then as they get older realize that no, they’re not those things, not by a long shot. And how do you deal with that? What do you do with your life to make yourself better? the world better?

In Trinity Fields Bradford Morrow does an amazing job of showing the subtleties of guilt and innocence in young and old, how close they are, and the affects of both during a lifetime.

 

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Small disclaimer: I was asked to do a review of Mr. Morrow’s book by e-publisher, Open Road Integrated Media, who have recently added Trinity Fields to the e-reader realm of book publishing. This review is my free and honest opinion.

 

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