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Welcome to the Machine
Toward the end of this momentous, detailed narrative of how the atomic bomb was conceived & executed, I grappled with how I might succinctly share my impressions of its
magnitude. In an obliquely inspired & somewhat ironically hinged connection I thought of Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine." At the time, the eponymous named tune of the album, presented my son & I a unique opportunity - a rocket ship ride to the stars. I'd pull our large stereo speakers close together & the two of us (Jason was 3 at the time) would lie down on the floor as I cranked up the volume. For those familiar with the stadium pleasing anthem you might recall that given the right leap of fancy, it was quite possible to imagine the opening overture as the sounds associated with a rocket blasting off into space. And then came the haunting lyrics that echoed in my ears as I finished reading this terrifying tome: "Welcome my son, welcome to the machine. Where have you been? It's alright we know where you've been, You've been in the pipeline, filling in time ..."
And so have we all since a coterie of this planet's most brilliant physicists ushered into our world the discovery of nuclear fission.What Rhodes does a brilliant job of is to magnify in excruciating detail both the level of complexity & the dedication of our national resources to creating our first weapon of mass destruction. While conceived over a decade and a half, the bulk of the atomic bomb project occurred at the Los Alamos labs in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At the height of its production powers the lab exceeded in funds spent & materials produced by the entire automotive industry. It was no small task to create an atomic bomb. Indeed, it was a Herculean effort to produce this machine of death -perhaps the most ingenious & evil creation hatched in the 20th century. By the conclusion of this important & at times difficult to digest story (Rhodes goes into great technical detail - much of which floated beyond my comprehension) the reader understands quite well that a door has been opened that can never again, be closed.
 

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition

User Review  - Noahsmitty - Goodreads

My problem with some history books like this is that the author spends a lot of time cramming superfluous detail along-side the more poignant facts which move the author's narrative forward. The book ... Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - So Hakim - Goodreads

Another Pulitzer Prize winner. A must-read for anyone who wants to know anything about what precipitated the Cold War. Many firsthand accounts during atomic era as well. Summary in bullet points ... Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - Aaron Spurr - Goodreads

This is an incredibly detailed book, and it takes a long time to get through. Don't attempt this unless you're willing to follow along for the long haul. You don't need a physics background to appreciate it, but it helps. Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - Dhaval - Goodreads

A historical account of roughly 50 years of physics and discovery culminating in the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Meticulously reconstructed, Richard Rhodes does an excellent ... Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - Scott - Goodreads

I just started Rhodes' "Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb", which reminded me of how much I enjoyed this earlier, Pulitzer Prize winning book of his when I read it probably 20 years ago. Highly recommended. Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb: 25th Anniversary Edition

User Review  - James - Goodreads

It MIGHT be a five-star book if I had never read a book before. It's the *complete* story of the bomb. But for someone who does know anything about science or WWII, or in my case, has read a number of ... Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - Anil Dave - Goodreads

Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you'll never, ever get it out. - Thomas Cardinal Wolsey Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - B. Scott Andersen - Goodreads

This Pulitzer prize winning book begins with the thoughts of a man most would not recognize. From this modest beginning Richard Rhodes brilliantly takes the reader on a tour of physics in the 20th ... Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - Greg Fanoe - Goodreads

Really strong account of a great scientific achievement. Fumbles a bit on the political and military matters, but this is pretty definitive and certainly an essential read for anyone with interest in science. Read full review


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