Making of the Atomic Bomb

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 18, 2012 - History - 928 pages
617 Reviews
Twenty-five years after its initial publication, The Making of the Atomic Bomb remains the definitive history of nuclear weapons and the Manhattan Project. From the turn-of-the-century discovery of nuclear energy to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan, Richard Rhodes’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book details the science, the people, and the socio-political realities that led to the development of the atomic bomb.

This sweeping account begins in the 19th century, with the discovery of nuclear fission, and continues to World War Two and the Americans’ race to beat Hitler’s Nazis. That competition launched the Manhattan Project and the nearly overnight construction of a vast military-industrial complex that culminated in the fateful dropping of the first bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Reading like a character-driven suspense novel, the book introduces the players in this saga of physics, politics, and human psychology—from FDR and Einstein to the visionary scientists who pioneered quantum theory and the application of thermonuclear fission, including Planck, Szilard, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Meitner, von Neumann, and Lawrence.

From nuclear power’s earliest foreshadowing in the work of H.G. Wells to the bright glare of Trinity at Alamogordo and the arms race of the Cold War, this dread invention forever changed the course of human history, and The Making of The Atomic Bomb provides a panoramic backdrop for that story.

Richard Rhodes’s ability to craft compelling biographical portraits is matched only by his rigorous scholarship. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail that any reader can follow, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a thought-provoking and masterful work.
  

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This was an entertaining and educational read. - Goodreads
It is very well researched and well written. - Goodreads
Ever. The writing is excellent. - Goodreads
It challenges both one's intellect and moral judgment. - Goodreads
The research is incredible. - Goodreads
Rhodes' writing is very easy to digest. - Goodreads

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - Samuel Weaver - Goodreads

Masterful. You can tell you are in the hands of a truly great writer. No review I can write will do the book justice. If you're even remotely interested in the story of the birth of the Atomic Age ... Read full review

Review: The Making of the Atomic Bomb

User Review  - Einar Ryvarden - Goodreads

Some of the finest historical writing I have read - combined with a great walk-through of nuclear science. Read full review

Contents

Moonshine
13
Atoms and Void
29
Tyi
53
The Long Grave Already Dug
78
Men from Mars
104
Machines
134
Exodus
168
Stirring and Digging
198
Physics and Desert Country
443
Different Animals
486
Revelations
522
The Evils of This Time
561
Life and Death
615
Trinity
617
Tongues of Fire
679
Epilogue
749

An Extensive Burst
233
A Peculiar Sovereignty
277
Neutrons
279
Cross Sections 3 18
318
A Communication from Britain
357
The New World
394
Acknowledgments
789
Notes
791
Bibliography
848
Index
863
Copyright

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Page 29 - All these things being considered, it seems probable to me, that God in the beginning formed Matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable particles, of such sizes and figures, and with such other properties, and in such proportion to space, as most conduced to the end for which he formed them...
Page 49 - It was quite the most incredible event that has ever happened to me in my life. It was almost as incredible as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.
Page 28 - I crossed the street, it suddenly occurred to me that if we could find an element which is split by neutrons and which would emit two neutrons when it absorbed one neutron, such an element, if assembled in sufficiently large mass, could sustain a nuclear chain reaction.
Page 30 - But though in the course of ages catastrophes have occurred, and may yet occur in the heavens; though ancient systems may be dissolved and new systems evolved out of their ruins; the molecules out of which these systems are built — the foundation stones of the material universe — remain unbroken and unworn.

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About the author (2012)

Richard Rhodes is the author of numerous books and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He graduated from Yale University and has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Appearing as host and correspondent for documentaries on public television's Frontline and American Experience series, he has also been a visiting scholar at Harvard and MIT and is an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Visit his website: RichardRhodes.com

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