Dear Chairman Mao, The backyard steel furnaces haven't been working out. But we've been reading the Detroit police blotter and we've got a new plan…


Ken Silverstein's new book is the inspiring story of a Michigan boy who built a breeder reactor in his suburban backyard. From The Christian Science Monitor's review:

David's aptitude for science was phenomenal. From a 1960s-era book of chemistry experiments, he quickly gleaned the principles and skills of manipulating reactions, and expanded his capabilities with long hours of research at the library.

His safety record was literally stunning. Taking only the barest precautions, he remained unfazed by accidents that turned his hair green, burned his skin, or knocked him out cold. Larger blunders alarmed his father and stepmother, but he learned to cover up his failures.

At school, he was a poor student and terrible speller (the wall of his potting-shed laboratory carried the admonition: "Caushon"). His occasional claims of chemical and, later, nuclear research were dismissed by parents and teachers as attempts to get attention.

The book is based on a 1998 Harper's article, which you can read here.

[Via Liberty & Power.]