Steve's and Mike's Recommendations!
From time to time, Steve and Mike come across something that our followers may enjoy. As we see something or read something or hear something, we'll list it out here with why we think it's special. Click on the pictures to learn more about the items!
(We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. For those recommendations that involve a sale, all sales go directly through Amazon.com...we see no customer information whatsoever.)
Lake Lawn Resort History
We came upon this book about the rich history of Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wisconsin and discovered the story of how the resort owners sponsored several Japanese-American families out of the Minidoka internment camp during World War II and brought them to Lake Lawn. There are many other such stories in this delightful little book. If instead of reading about the more grand stories of international war and power struggles and enjoy learning the "smaller" history of local life, this book is for you. AND...it is a quick read and has lots of pictures!
Enigma and World War II Code Breaking
World War II is still yielding great stories about all the efforts that were parts of defeating the Axis Powers. Our radio show, “The Enigma Covenant”, describes in docu-drama fashion the top secret work of breaking the German codes, intercepting messages, and turning that information into weapons against the Nazis. A forty-five minute show, though, only skims the surface of this amazing story. To learn more about Enigma, Alan Turing, the Bombe, Bletchley Park, and more, check out these recommendations available on Amazon.com.
Moe Berg & Werner Heisenberg
After all these years, World War II still has stories that have yet to be told and heard. A couple of those stories, those of Moe Berg and Werner Heisenberg, come together in our radio play, “The Catcher in the Spy”. In this spy thriller, we follow our fictional heroine, Catherine McPherson, as she teams up with major league baseball catcher, Moe Berg, to find out how close the Nazis were to developing an atomic bomb. The leader of the German nuclear scientists was Nobel-prize winning Werner Heisenberg. Although, McPherson is a fictional character, Berg, Heisenberg, and the circumstances of their meeting in 1944 are all factual including Berg’s orders to kill Heisenberg if he felt that the Germans were close to getting the bomb.
Both of these men were mysteries. Berg was a major league catcher and played for the White Sox, Red Sox, and Yankees over his career. He held a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages and studied seven of them including Latin and Sanskrit at Princeton. He later went on to Columbia Law School during the off-seasons to earn his law degree and passed the New York bar. He began playing baseball in school and eventually played professionally. During an all-star trip to Japan in 1934, Berg went to a Japanese hospital, snuck up to the roof, and photographed the Tokyo skyline for the U.S. government. Those pictures were later used to assist American pilots in their bombing runs. He worked for the Office of Strategic Services during the war (and a bit for the CIA afterwards) and was obsessed with learning about Germany’s progress in atomic fission.
Heisenberg won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1932 and later went on to be part of and lead the team of German nuclear scientists. A protégé of the Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, Heisenberg visited Bohr in Copenhagen during the war. It is a mystery to this day what exactly happened at that visit. The two men went for a walk, had an argument, and never saw each other again. Neither men nor Bohr’s wife would speak of the details. This mystery was brought to life in 2000 in the Broadway play, “Copenhagen” which won the Tony Awards for best play, best featured actress, and best director. Both Steve and I have seen the play – twice! – and found it riveting. Who would think that I would be on the edge of my seat fearfully pondering if Heisenberg really knew how much plutonium it took make a bomb? And what ended the friendship between these two great scientists? Did Heisenberg ask Bohr for help or was Bohr horrified that Heisenberg was close to his goal?
Steve and I have been fascinated with this story and the intersection of it with Berg and Heisenberg. We have selected some items that we would recommend to our followers if they would like to join us in this interest. Included are some books and also the screen version of “Copenhagen”. My guess is that you, too, will feel like you are only getting at the surface of these men and the story of their lives.
We included a copy of the Farm Hall transcripts. When under British arrest, Heisenberg and his team were kept at a house where they were secretly recorded. It was in the reading of these transcripts that I came to my conclusion of whether Heisenberg knew how to build the bomb.
Did you think I would tell you?