The world entered the atomic age in August 1945, when the B-29 Superfortress nicknamed Enola Gay flew some 1,500 miles from the island of Tinian and dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. The "Little Boy" bomb exploded with the force of 12.5 kilotons of TNT, nearly destroying the city. Three days later, another B-29 dropped an atomic bomb on Nagasaki. The Japanese government, which had been preparing a bloody defense against an invasion, surrendered six days later. The aircraft was the primary artifact in an exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum from 1995 to 1998. The original, controversial exhibit script was changed, and the final exhibition attracted some 4 million visitors, testifying to the enduring interest in the aircraft and its mission. This book tells the story of the Enola Gay, the Boeing B-29 program, and the combat operations of the B-29 type. After nearly two decades of restoration, the Enola Gay will be one of the highlights of the museumís new Udvar-Hazy Center, which is scheduled to open at Dulles International Airport on December 15, 2003.
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