AUTHORObeidi, Mahdi / Pitzer, Kurt
TITLEThe Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind
PUBLISHERJohn Wiley & Sons
CITYNew York, NY

This is an autobiography of one Saddam Hussein’s most important nuclear scientists, Mahdi Obeidi, whose job was to build the centrifuges needed to enrich uranium to weapons grade. The book briefly covers his early life, but focuses on his experiences in the late 1980s as he traveled the globe seeking knowledge and parts for the complicated centrifuges under construction in Iraq. At times Obeidi acted more like a secret agent than a scientist, participating in black market deals and convincing scientists to give him crucial knowledge. The book also reveals how close Iraq came to an atomic bomb before the first Gulf War, as Obeidi’s team of scientists had successfully built a workable centrifuge before the crisis and then entered into an unsuccessful crash program to build a bomb before Iraq was forced out of Kuwait. After the war, Obeidi worked on other industrial programs, but also was part of the cover-up of Iraq’s previous nuclear program. He states that was no work done with centrifuges after the first Gulf War and that the crucial designs and prototypes, which the UN weapon inspectors never saw, were buried in his back yard. The book ends with his terrifying experiences during and after the second Gulf War and with his carefully turning over the centrifuge designs to the Americans. Obeidi wrote the book to show how easily a country can acquire the necessary tools for a nuclear weapon, how dangerous it could be if a tyrant ever had such a weapon, and that scientists can be coerced into building them out a desire to keep their families safe.

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