Eric Schlosser's Stunning Secret History of America's Nuclear Arsenal

The author of Fast Food Nation delivers a tale of power in the atomic age

On March 11, 1958, a family in the small town of Mars Bluff, S.C., was understandably startled when an atomic bomb exploded in their yard. What had happened was this: A B-47 bomber was passing overhead when the pilot noticed that the locking pin of the Mark 6 atomic bomb in his hold wasn't engaged. He sent the plane's navigator to re-engage the pin by hand. The navigator, being a navigator, had no idea how to do this, and while he was climbing around the bomb bay trying to figure it out, he accidentally grabbed the manual release lever. Bombs away.

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