Atomic Age America / Edition 1

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Examines atomic energy as a lens to 20th and 21st-century America.

Atomic Age America looks at the broad influence of atomic energy—focusing particularly on nuclear weapons and nuclear power—on the lives of Americans within a world context. The text examines the social, political, diplomatic, environmental, and technical impacts of atomic energy on the 20th and 21st centuries, with a look back to the origins of atomic theory.

Learning Goals

Upon completing this book readers will be able to:

  • Develop a background in the origins of atomic theory and atomic science
  • View nuclear technologies within the historical context in which they were created and used
  • Understand how atomic energy helped frame the second half of the 20th century, and how it continues to influence in the 21st

Note: MySearchLab does not come automatically packaged with this text. To purchase MySearchLab, please visit: or you can purchase a ValuePack of the text + MySearchLab (at no additional cost): ValuePack ISBN-10: 0205819133 / ValuePack ISBN-13: 9780205819133.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“I think that the author strikes a good balance between accessibility and density. The author gives students a very readable history.”

-Daniel Murphy, Hanover College

“Outstanding, especially once the narrative moves into the 1930s. The thematic emphasis on the alteration of science's role within American society is sharp and does an excellent job of framing the narrative.”

-John Turner, University of South Alabama

“Very well done. I especially liked the section on movie imagery and the atomic age, which should be of interest to students.”

-Todd Good, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

“I can see assigning such a text in both my upper-division postwar America history course and U.S. diplomatic history course...I can certainly also foresee assigning the book to my survey class(es.)”

-Daniel J. Snyder, University of South Carolina

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205742547
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 11/18/2012
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 326,526
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin V. Melosi is Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen University Professor and Director of the Center for Public History at the University of Houston. His primary fields of study are environmental, urban, and energy history. He is the author or editor of nineteen books and more than 85 articles and book chapters, including the award-winning The Sanitary City (2000). In 2000-01 he held the Fulbright Chair in American Studies at the University of Southern Denmark, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Paris, University of Helsinki, Tampere Technical University, Peking University, and Shanghai University. He is past-president of the American Society for Environmental History, the Public Works Historical Society, the Urban History Association, and the National Council on Public History.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Most Controversial Technology

Chapter 1 A Community of Scientists: Atomic Theory over the Centuries

Chapter 2 Government Mobilizes the Atom: War, Big Science, and the Manhattan Project

Chapter 3 Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Aftermath: From Total War to Cold War

Chapter 4 The Cold War and Atomic Diplomacy: Deterrence, Espionage, and the Super

Chapter 5 Invincible to Vulnerable in the Age of Anxiety: Massive Retaliation, Fallout, and the Sputnik Crisis

Chapter 6 To the Brink: The Military-Industrial Complex, the Berlin and Cuban Crises, and the Lingering Arms Race

Chapter 7 Too Cheap to Meter, Too Tempting to Ignore: Peaceful Uses of the Atom

Chapter 8 Nuclear Power v. The Environment: The Bandwagon Market, Reactor Safety, and the Energy Crisis

Chapter 9 The Post-TMI World, Chernobyl, and the Future of Nuclear Power

Chapter 10 Pax Atomica—or Pox Atomica--at the End of the Cold War

Chapter 11 Proliferation, Terrorism, and Climate Change: The Atom in the 21st Century

Conclusion: From Hiroshima to Fukushima

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