Weapons of Peace
Peter D. Johnston
Goldbrook Publishing (2019)
Reviewed by Megan Weiss for Reader Views (11/2020)
Peter D. Johnston’s “Weapons of Peace” tells an important story from World War II that, while fictionalized, is derived from true stories. Everett Nash is a renowned American negotiator who has set out to stop Hitler and the Nazis from completing – and using – a new, devastating weapon as they attempt to turn the tides of the war back in Germany’s favor. After being seriously injured during his operation, Everett is confined to the hospital at Leeds Castle, where he meets young, passionate nurse Emma Doyle. Emma is on a mission of her own to find the young son she last saw five years ago, on the night her husband savagely beat her and then fled with their child, taking all their savings with him. Together, Everett and Emma will team up to stop the Nazis rumored new bomb from being detonated, and also try to get Emma her son back, as well.
Sometimes you pick up a book and get this feeling that tells you you’re about to enter an entirely new world. That’s how I felt the first time I picked up “Weapons of Peace.” Right away, the cover of the book drew me in, and though I don’t normally gravitate toward World War II military history, I was super excited to read this book. I was not disappointed. As a recent History graduate student, books that derive from true events really stand out to me. It was amazing to me how I never had any idea about the Nazis attempts to develop their own atomic bomb before the Allies did toward the end of the war. As someone who thrived off history during high school, and actively seeks out new historical research, I felt astounded that I never heard of this before. It’s a prime example of how much vital information has been omitted or blurred from the historical record that, in reality, really needs to be made much more public.
“Weapons of Peace” has a fast-paced, suspenseful tone that perfectly captures that time period and events being portrayed in the book. It was easy to keep wanting to turn the pages, because there was always some important mission or scene taking place. This is a book where every word counts, and if you accidentally catch yourself daydreaming or skimming a few pages here and there, you’ll find yourself going back and rereading to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
For those who do choose to delve into the depths of “Weapons of Peace,” they can be assured that not only will they be embarking on a fun, thrilling literary journey, they will also learn a lot of new information about World War II that is not taught in mainstream education or through most media. “Weapons of Peace” is not a light read, and most likely would appeal to audiences who are used to reading nonfiction, history, or even journalism. The book is filled with facts and names that while seemingly simple and insignificant, actually play a huge part in being able to understand the book as a whole. There are also some depictions of violence and abuse, which may not appeal to readers who aren’t used to reading these graphic depictions in the books they choose.
Johnston’s book is an enlightening, and slightly horrifying, tale of how sometimes human history is decided by the smallest of actions and moments. If the Third Reich had indeed succeeded in implementing their own nuclear weapons before the Allies and the Americans, then it’s possible that the war would have reached a drastically different outcome and have led to an even more drastically different modern-day period. “Weapons of Peace” matters today, because it illuminates how important it is to get involved, use your voice, and stick to your guns in order to effect change for the good. Ultimately, this is a book that will always have a relevant place in both literature and historical education.