File Size: 51625 KB
Print Length: 896 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Anv Rep edition (September 18, 2012)
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
" The Making of the Atomic Bomb" is a richly detailed epic, a table-shaking beast of a book that frequently sent me on evening walks to ponder and process the last few chapters I had created read. This really is more than only a book about Hiroshima, Oppenheimer, and the New york Project. We have an in-depth look at the early on history of atomic physics, the personalities of key scientists, politicians, and armed service leaders, the complex politics and military issues around the bomb's development and use, and the traditional and social events that shaped its creation. This particular is NOT a beach read - better put aside two weeks and plenty of undivided attention before tackling it!
I actually first read this book back in 2001, and i also was totally enthralled by it, consuming it from cover to cover in four times. Having read it four times since then, some cracks have formed in its facade. Namely, it feels like two books grafted together - a decent one on the early history of nuclear physics, and an enthralling one on the actual making of the atomic explosive device. The first 250 webpages, while perhaps essential, have a tendency to get bogged down by Rhodes' occasionally self-indulgent scene-setting (do we really need to know what shape the windows were? ) and rather heavy philosophizing. Things pick up hugely with the actual finding that the Uranium atom can be split, but I can understand why a lot of people give up early on. The " making of" is told with a outstanding lack of sensationalizing and sermonizing, and as horrific as the company accounts of the actual bombings are, Rhodes is amazingly nonjudgmental about the bomb's use. People looking for pointed criticisms or historical revisionism will probably be disappointed; although Rhodes obviously abhors war, he seems to view Hiroshima and Nagasaki as the inescapable climax of an significantly savage conflict against an enemy which refused to surrender. Considering how emotionally charged most books on nuclear weapons are, I actually actually admired Rhodes' somewhat pragmatic approach. Then again, it might leave others cold and confused.
Although it's not the faultless masterpiece I once held this, " The Producing of the Atomic Bomb" is still a pretty solid place. It's big, multi-layered, thought-provoking, darkly funny, disturbing, highly detailed, philosophical... and only a tad over-rated. The first 3 rd is somewhat rough going, and, in retrospection, could have used some careful editing. The very last 500 pages, however, are among the best history writing I've ever read. In case the early history of nuclear weapons and nuclear physics fascinates you, give it a shot. You just need some endurance going in., If you are up on physics you will love this book. Otherwise, there is enough to a person proceeding while bypassing the nut products and bolts. This can be a long book and is technological enough that you will take your time reading it. I liked the physics because it offered me a much better understanding of the process and trials necessary to make the bomb work. There is way too much personal background on the players and a whole lot of redundancy and I ended up bypassing much of that. Skipping didn't take away from the story of the bomb, so the amount there was extraneous. The book ends with the bomb explosions over The japanese. After following the story for about 750 webpages I would have loved to read more than the wham, bam, give thanks to you mam that the ending was. More than minimal coverage of Oak Shape would have added much to the story but additional books on Maple Ridge that are fairly interesting. If you want to read more on Oak Ridge find something that starts with the dull fields pre-construction and goes on after that. I would have liked to learn something about the espionage that occurred but that wasn't covered. Still, this was an extremely well researched book and i also recommend it., The Making of the Atomic Bomb – Richard Rhodes
Title: Scientifically Accurate – Overly Wordy
Richard Rhodes tome deserves its acclaim as the utmost comprehensive history of the development of the atomic bomb. As a scientist with advanced levels in quantum physics I actually can verify its medical accuracy. Mr. Rhodes’s has a surprise for describing complex technical details to a lay audience. I actually found his lengthily talk on the lives of scientists enlightening but non-scientists might find these sidebars distracting.
There is one question on the development of atomic weapons that has haunted me. What could have happened if Otto Hahn’s paper on the finding of nuclear fission had not been published six months before the Nazi invasion of Poland? Would the major powers have invested so much talent and money on the urgent progress an atomic bomb? It really is unlikely this question will ever be answered, One of my favorite books of all time! This scope is enormous and the story is so fascinating on so many levels:
- The science: it takes you on a journey from the discovery of the nucleus, through quantum physics, all the way to the dropping of the bomb.
- The people: everyone involved in the task was extraordinary in their own right. The back stories of the experts involved are incredible and you get to know them as people and not merely historical figures. You also a new lot about the military personnel involved
- The project: the Manhattan task itself was astounding. You find out that it was not this ultra-organized, highly planned endeavor -- they were figuring it out as the went along
- The war: I love learning about World Conflict Two and this book doesn't disappoint. The strategy of the bomb, the top-secret operations, the Germans' parallel atomic project -- all of this is covered in great detail and makes you appreciate just how high the stakes were., I bought this book for the first time around 25 years ago. I loved it. I simply got a new copy, because my old one got ruined in a move.
Richard Rhodes offers an exhaustive, yet entertaining, history of the development of the amazing system that prevented the communists from enslaving mankind. This individual tells us about the superhuman geniuses who worked on it. He tells us all about the political, strategic, and practical sides of the bomb's creation. Practically nothing is left out. This individual even includes a picture of a " uranium gun" -type bomb, in case you want to make your own.
This particular book was very uplifting to me when I actually decided to pursue a career in physics. Sadly, it wasn't inspiring enough to prevent me from quitting, but I suppose that's my fault, not the books.
If most likely in physics or architectural, this is a must-read.
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