My Review of The Winter Fortress by Neal Bascomb



“The news is excellent. . . . There has been sabotage in Vemork.  The heavy-water works are destroyed.  Four Norwegian-speaking men in English uniforms got away.”

So writes Odd Nansen in his diary entry of March 6, 1943, describing an event that occurred a week earlier: the daring raid on the Vemork hydroelectric plant and its heavy-water production facility.  It is doubtful whether Nansen realized at the time the full significance of the raid, or indeed, why heavy water was considered a target worthy of a special sabotage operation.  After all, the nascent race to build the atom bomb [in which heavy water can play an important part] was still very much a tightly guarded secret in the U.S. and Germany.

After the war of course the full story could be told, and the Vemork raid, considered the most successful act of sabotage in all of the war, has since spawned numerous books and films.  Neal Bascomb, author of Hunting Eichmann, has produced the latest engaging account in The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atom Bomb.

I have written a review of The Winter Fortress for the Norwegian American, billed as America’s only Norwegian newspaper.

You can read the full review here


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On This Date

< 2022 >
  • 06

    All day
    Oct 06, 2022-Sep 28, 2023
    Odd Nansen arrives at Sachsenhausen Camp, Germany
  • 10

    All day
    Oct 10, 2022-Oct 02, 2023
    Odd Nansen’s father, Fridtjof Nansen was born.
  • 13

    All day
    Oct 13, 2022-Oct 05, 2023
    Odd Nansen’s wife, Karen (Kari) Hirsch was born
  • 22

    All day
    Oct 22, 2022-Oct 14, 2023
    A border pilot attempting to help 9 Jews escape to Sweden kills policeman; Jews are blamed
  • 24

    All day
    Oct 24, 2022-Oct 16, 2023
    Quisling executed at Akershus Castle
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