The Gift of Reading

Still have people to buy for? Consider these books as last-minute stocking stuffers.

The Atomic Bazaar: The Rise of the Nuclear Poor

By William Langewiesche ($22)

Upon unwrapping The Atomic Bazaar on Christmas morning, a pall may fall over your gift-giving extravaganza. For starters, the cover of Davis resident William Langewiesche's book features a shopping cart emblazoned with a radioactivity symbol — not exactly an image that meshes with the commercial spirit of Noel. Then again, a book detailing how the United States continues to blunder in its efforts to stem nuclear proliferation isn't a holly-jolly read. But Langewiesche's grit, thoroughness, and journalistic competence is simply awe-inspiring and his unadorned writing is compellingly readable. You won't be able to put the book down as Langewiesche criss-crosses Russia and the mountains of Pakistan tracing the routes of a nuclear smuggler and examines the rise and fall of nuclear sugar daddy A.Q. Khan. In the end, you'll learn how, in the very near future, the poor man's atomic bomb will, in fact, be an atomic bomb. A few glasses of eggnog may help you deal with that reality. — Joe Eskenazi

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