Wednesday, December 14, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Fission by Tom Weston

Fission is an Historical Literary Fiction.

Lise Mietner was a woman born before her times.  The time is 1906 and Lise has just received her PhD in Physics, something quite unheard of, women were tolerated in the academics as long as it was known that they would get married and have children right after graduation.  However, the family life is not for Lise as she overcomes the trials and tribulations set before her in a man's world.

Lise meets many great minds along her journey, such as Ernst Mach, who proved speed travel, Albert Einstein, an up and coming star in the realm of physics, as well as Max Planck, who helps guide her with his tutelage. 

Lise's father is against the idea of Lise moving from Vienna to Berlin to pursue her advocation.  However, he complies and Lise has never been happier.  She does run into problems as she tries to secure a laboratory in which to experiment, space is tight and men will always have first crack at the opportunity of obtaining one, no matter how much her Professors admire her tenacity to the task.

Lise meets Otto Hahn, a chemist, and together they work on radiation and its causes and effects.  When Lise is invited to give a lecture on some of her published papers, she embarks on the journey with trepidation.  However, her colleagues are very supportive and Lise agrees to the talk.  This will open many doors for this remarkable women from our historical past.

Lise is a prim and proper women, she has many eyes upon her and she fears making waves, always trying to hide in the shadows.  Her nephew, Robert, is her pride and joy and it is only with him that she is able to be herself.  There are many ups and downs concerning Lise and her career choice but she fronts them bravely and changes the face of science for future generations.

I thought this was an extremely well written book.  I loved knowing that it was based on a true story and how pioneering the woman, Lise Mietner, was to humanity.  I admired her courage and her determination to succeed in a man's world.  She helped to change many of the male attitudes of the times  and helped pave the way for other highly academic and career-orientated women to survive and succeed.

I enjoy reading the history that is shared throughout the pages, reading about some of the greatest minds in such a relaxed and personal way gives the story an added edge to its character building.  I thought all aspects of the literature was well placed and everything worked well together, the plot, the characters and the back story all fit nicely together.

Author Tom Weston definitely knows how to spin a tale and gives just enough information to the reader that encourages you to go and learn more about Lise Mietner.  Until reading this story, the only women I ever heard attached to radiation science was Madame Curie and it was really interesting to read about Lise and her life.

I would give Fission a five out of five stars.  The history, the characters and the writing all blend together to make this a remarkable and intriguing read.  The social and political strife encompasses the reader and you will find yourself needing to know more.  Anyone with a fascination with true historical stories would love reading this.

First they tried to deny her.
Then they tried to destroy her.
But she survived to discover nuclear fission
and spark the race for the atomic bomb.

Imagine if you would, a story of greed and betrayal, intrigue and danger, war and destruction, the slaughter of the innocents on a biblical scale and the collapse of empire. And imagine at the centre of it all one little woman, brilliant but shy, victimized but resolute, and ultimately vindicated. What a story that would make! Well, you don't have to imagine it, because that is the Lise Meitner story. And I didn't have to invent any of it . . . it's all true.

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** Disclosure: I did not accept any compensation from the sponsors other than review copies, my views are my own, reviewed by I see it~!! **