The Firecracker Boys by Dan O’Neill

Mar 7, 2022 | Reviews & Recommendations

The Firecracker BoysThe Firecracker Boys: H-Bombs, Inupiat Eskimos, and the Roots of the Environmental Movement

Dan O’Neill
Saint Martin’s Press 1994

In 1958, Edward Teller, the father of the H bomb, wanted to explode six megaton atomic bombs on the coast of NW Alaska, only a few miles from the Inupiat settlement of Point Hope.

This story will tell you why the United States government deemed it necessary. A grass roots movement led by a community of Inupiats, a few skeptical scientists and a handful of conservationists stopped the project. It was the birth of the environmental movement and an era when the US government was used to getting its way.

This is a classic David and Goliath story written wonderfully by Dan O’Neill. The Firecracker Boys is informative but a quick and entertaining read. I really enjoyed this book. It filled in a large gap in my Alaska History knowledge.

“Dan O’Neill, then a Research Associate with the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, documents the history of Project Chariot. It is a tale replete with tragicomic errors and deceptions on the part of the AEC and the staff of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (then called Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, or LRL) including Dr. Edward Teller, known as the father of the H-bomb. The basic idea was to carve out a deep-water harbor in Alaska using nuclear bombs. Project Chariot would have been the first “shot” in this effort: a data-gathering blast sometime in 1961. One small detail stood in the way: an Inupiat village called Point Hope. Luckily, the citizens of Point Hope, with O’Neill’s help, stood up to the AEC. The plan was shelved in 1962. …” ~ Top reviewer on Amazon.

Available in paperback and ebook at many online stores.

Here’s my review of North of Familiar by Terry Milos.