Review by Choice Review
This is a book that should be appreciated by a wide general audience. In what is the first comprehensive story of the atomic bomb, Rhodes leads readers through a wonderfully complex maze of historical coincidence, scientific discovery, and the geopolitics of the mid 20th century. Rhodes's thesis is that the bomb, the most dramatic creation of our time, was a product of scientific research stretching back to the early 20th century, of the personality quirks of scientists, and of the needs of wartime strategists. That the US won the first atomic race was also a product of accident and cleverness. For example, Germany's atomic research was slowed both by the inability of German leaders to understand the bomb's potential early on and of the Allies' ability to sabotage Germany's atomic capacity. Rhodes also notes that even the Japanese had an infant atomic program, something that will surprise many readers. The great achievement of Rhodes is the way in which he weaves the material together. The bomb was not just a scientific accomplishment, although the author uses great skill in making the science and the excitement of discovery plain for even the most scientifically illiterate reader. Rhodes brings all the pieces together, leaving his audience with the whole story and with a real sense of pleasure of having read history at its best. Highly recommended for all libraries.-N.R. Eder, Pacific Northwest College of Art
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
This winner of the NBCC, NBA and Pulitzer prizes is being published to coincide with the 50th anniversaries of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the hardcover publication of Rhodes's new book, Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A magnificent account of a central reality of our times, incorporating deep scientific expertise, broad political and social knowledge, and ethical insight, and Idled with beautifully written biographical sketches of the men and women who created nuclear physics. Rhodes describes in detail the great scientific achievements that led up to the invention of the atomic bomb. Everything of importance is examined, from the discovery of the atomic nucleus and of nuclear fission to the emergence of quantum physics, the invention of the mass-spectroscope and of the cyclotron, the creation of such man-made elements as plutonium and tritium, and implementation of the nuclear chain reaction in uranium. Even more important, Rhodes shows how these achievements were thrust into the arms of the state, which culminated in the unfolding of the nuclear arms race. Often brilliantly, he records the rise of fascism and of anti-Semitism, and the intensification of nationalist ambitions. He traces the outbreak of WW II, which provoked a hysterical rivalry among nations to devise the bomb. This book contains a grim description of Japanese resistance, and of the horrible psychological numbing that caused an unparalleled tolerance for human suffering and destruction. Rhodes depicts the Faustian scale of the Manhattan Project. His account of the dropping of the bomb itself, and of the awful firebombing that prepared its way, is unforgettable. Although Rhodes' gallery of names and events is sometimes dizzying, his scientific discussions often daunting, he has written a book of great drama and sweep. A superb accomplishment. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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