The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Rhodes addresses the key players in developing the atomic bomb, the discovery of atomic structure, and the eventual development of the bombs that would change the scope of World War II. Nuclear energy was first discussed in theoretical terms less than three decades before the Trinity nuclear test; the book takes readers from the speculative interest in nuclear technology to the biggest moments in nuclear history and its far-reaching implications.
Here for the first time, in rich human, political, and scientific detail, is the complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan.
Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly – or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity, there was a span of hardly more than 25 years. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan Project and then into the bomb with frightening rapidity, while scientists known only to their peers – Szilard, Teller, Oppenheimer, Bohr, Meitner, Fermi, Lawrence, and yon Neumann – stepped from their ivory towers into the limelight.
Richard Rhodes takes us on that journey step by step, minute by minute, and gives us the definitive story of man’s most awesome discovery and invention. The Making of the Atomic Bomb has been compared in its sweep and importance to William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It is at once a narrative tour de force and a document as powerful as its subject.