To the editors:

I appreciate Peter Friederici’s admiring review of Robert Del Tredici’s book, At Work in the Fields of the Bomb (August 4, 1989). The Progressive has published Del Tredici’s photographs, and shares your reviewer’s admiration for his work.

However, I regret Friederici’s careless reference to Howard Morland’s “article on how to build a hydrogen bomb.” This is a sloppy and inaccurate description of Morland’s important article, “The H-Bomb Secret,” which we published (after six months of litigation) in the November 1979 issue of our magazine.

The Progressive is not a hobbyists’ publication; we don’t teach people how to build things. If we did, there wouldn’t be much point in teaching our readers how to build a hydrogen bomb, since that project would cost billions of dollars and require the industrial capacity of at least a medium-sized advanced nation.

Morland’s article did offer an account of how a hydrogen bomb works. If the distinction between doing that and telling how to build one eludes you, think of it this way: If I tell you how an internal-combustion engine works, can you go out and build yourself a car?

Erwin Knoll