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 sociopolitical 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.
The definitive history
Richard Rhodes wrote the definitive account of the Manhattan Project, and this audiobook maintains the same high standard.
One monstrous gaping hole
This is very good. This is very detailed. Perhaps more important, this is written, as if, by a poet. The imagery and flow of language is like nothing you've likely read in a science or history, or history of science book. The author is clearly sensitive and aware.
And like all sensitive and aware authors, he ends up a complete shill and dupe for his socialist masters. There is one sentence in the entire piece related to the various treasons within the project that handed the bomb to Stalin and the Soviets; resulting in 50 years of Eastern European slavery, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the destabilized Middle East. Worse, the one sentence fails to indict: Klaus Fuchs, Oppenheimer, the Rosenbergs, Theodore Hall, or Harry Hopkins. It's like telling the story of the assassination of Lincoln without mentioning Booth.
And it's not like he didn't have 25 years to fix it. Four stars because what was included is so well done. 20% demerit for leaving out half the story.
Storytelling, History, Physics, Wow!
If you like the history of science , you will love this book. For some, it may be difficult to
get past the social repugnance of the subject. However, the reasons for the project are made clear, and the story of the project is fascinating. For this physician, and amateur physics historian, this is my favorite book, EVER!