Book Review: Hannah’s War
By Jan Eliasberg
Dr. Hannah Weiss is a Jewish scientist, working in Berlin, in 1938, working on one of the most important scientific discoveries of the time. Splitting the atom. Already fighting an uphill battle of being a woman in a man’s world, she faces even greater challenges as a Jewish scientist living under the Third Reich. She finds her work often ignored, discredited and even stolen by her male, Aryan colleagues. She eventually escapes and finds herself working at Los Alamos, in New Mexico, where she meets Major Jack Delaney.
Major Delaney has returned from to the States after fighting to liberate Paris with an important mission. Information about experiments being carried out at Los Alamos is being leaked back to the Germans and Major Delaney has been tasked with finding the spy. Her German background makes Dr. Weiss a prime suspect in his investigation.
Hannah’s War is a compelling work of fiction based on the Manhattan Project and the work of Jewish physicist, Dr. Lise Meitner, who with a team of scientists, was responsible for discovering nuclear fission. The story flashes between Dr. Weiss’s time working in Germany, in the late 30s and her time in New Mexico, in the mid 40s, near the end of WWII. This is a well-crafted spy thriller with a beautifully emotional side.
Hannah is a deeply developed, mysterious character. Major Delaney’s interrogation of her peels back the layers in a compelling way that drives the reader. The romantic interest between the two weaves an added layer of tension to the story in a compelling way. The story takes an interesting twist when Hannah discovers that Major Delaney is harboring a few secrets of his own. This story is fast paced and will grip you from beginning to end.
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