Grappling with the Bomb

Grappling with the Bomb

Britain’s Pacific H-bomb tests

Grappling with the BombAuthored by: Nic Maclellan

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Grappling with the Bomb is a history of Britain’s 1950s program to test the hydrogen bomb, code name Operation Grapple. In 1957–58, nine atmospheric nuclear tests were held at Malden Island and Christmas Island—today, part of the Pacific nation of Kiribati. Nearly 14,000 troops travelled to the central Pacific for the UK nuclear testing program—many are still living with the health and environmental consequences.

Based on archival research and interviews with nuclear survivors, Grappling with the Bomb presents i-Kiribati woman Sui Kiritome, British pacifist Harold Steele, businessman James Burns, Fijian sailor Paul Ah Poy, English volunteers Mary and Billie Burgess and many other witnesses to Britain’s nuclear folly.


ISBN (print):
ISBN (online):
Publication date:
Sep 2017
ANU Press
Pacific Series
Social Sciences: Military & Defence Studies


The author has made excellent use of his journalistic background, and has added the skills of a historical writer and researcher to produce a work that is readable and effective, a valuable source of information, and a potent plea for justice.
—Elizabeth A. Willis, Medicine, Conflict and Survival (34,2), 13 June 2018

The full review can been read on the Medicine, Conflict and Survival website

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