The Making of the Atomic Bomb

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

4.4 29
by Richard Rhodes

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ISBN-10: 0684813785

ISBN-13: 9780684813783

Pub. Date: 08/01/1995

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

With a new Introduction by the author, the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning epic about how the atomic bomb came to be.

In rich, human, political, and scientific detail, here is the complete story of the nuclear bomb.

Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly—or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical


With a new Introduction by the author, the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning epic about how the atomic bomb came to be.

In rich, human, political, and scientific detail, here is the complete story of the nuclear bomb.

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 twenty-five years. What began merely as 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 von 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 is at once a narrative tour de force and a document as powerful as its subject.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Sloan Science Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents


Part One: Profound and Necessary Truth

1. Moonshine

2. Atoms and Void

3. Tvi

4. The Long Grave Already Dug

5. Men from Mars

6. Machines

7. Exodus

8. Stirring and Digging

9. An Extensive Burst

Part Two: A Peculiar Sovereignty

10. Neutrons

11. Cross Sections

12. A Communication from Britain

13. The New World

14. Physics and Desert Country

15. Different Animals

16. Revelations

17. The Evils of This Time

Part Three: Life and Death

18. Trinity

19. Tongues of Fire






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Making of the Atomic Bomb 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
OriginalWisdomIsAWoman More than 1 year ago
I was first introduced to this book as a Freshman in college when I took an interim class entitled, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb". Our class met some of the surviving crew who had participated in the designing, making and implementing of the bomb. The class and the book afforded me the opportunity to be privy to information that few in our society take to heart...and I am grateful to have had the experience. The book can be very technical and one must be determined to make the effort to dig into it, as the rewards are well worth it. Making of the Atomic Bomb details many aspects of history's "game changer". It provides astonishing background information not only about the making of the bomb, but it interestingly treks into the personal lives of those who had a role to play in upping the ante of our scientific pursuits. Very well written, informative, more than thought provoking! A must read if one wants to gain a deeper understanding about the consequences of risky and/or dangerous pursuits. An excellent academic endeavor if one wants to do more than understand history, psychology and human nature as a whole!
Learned_Professor More than 1 year ago
A book that wins a Pulitzer Prize is undoubtedly well-written and well-researched, and the Making of the Atomic Bomb lives up to its prize. I have never before read such a thorough history of the atomic bomb, or of any other topic for that matter. This book's 900+ pages explain in great detail the science behind the bomb, its development and construction, and its use against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because of its sheer size, for those not deeply interested in the topic, the book might simply be too much. Even being a history buff, there were times when I wondered what I was reading had anything to do with the atomic bomb. I think that's mostly because, as I said, the science behind the bomb is explained in great detail. So, I just want to warn history buffs out there that this book is not purely history - it is also scientific, and at times it can be tedious (but it is never difficult to understand). That in of itself should not keep you from reading this book, however. Usually, the scientific explanations themselves are not tedious, but important and helpful in understanding how the atomic bombs was developed and is able to work. And its historical value overrides any scientific tediousness that is present. The experiments that proved such a bomb was possible, the Manhattan Project, the German and Japanese atomic bomb programs (the latter overlooked in most publications), the testing of the first bomb, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their aftermath - all of these events are described and explained in a relatively unbiased way. The book's "sticking to the facts" and lack of a thesis (it is a narrative, not a persuasive essay) makes it better, as it allows the reader to form their own opinions about the atomic bomb. A very interesting and very important read indeed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I rarely read books that so seamlessly integrate biography, history, and science. Rhodes tells the most captivating version of the events leading up to something that everyone should read about.
Peter_Pan74 More than 1 year ago
I am writing a review on "The Making of the Atomic " by Richard Rhodes. The book was the winner of The Pulitzer Prize, The National Book Award, and The National Book Critics Circle Award rightfully so. This book is a tremendous resource if one is trying to find out about the Atomic in all its aspects. It covers the dropping of the Atomic on Hiroshima to the building of the Atomic to the splitting of the atoms before the Manhattan Project officially began. It talks about the different people who were vital to the success of the secretive project, such as General Groves, Robert Oppenheimer, Albert Einstein, and many others. I would strongly suggest reading this book if you are fascinating with the Atomic and the complicity it took to produce one. It also described in great detail the different facilities that were vital to the success of making an Atomic . Two of these are Los Alamos, Nevada, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. These plants staffed over 100,000 people but yet only a handful actually knew what they were working on. This book should not be read by anyone who has not taken biology, chemistry, and physics in high school due to the complexity of the formulas and science vocabulary. I will admit that the book got a little dry at times but overall I enjoyed it very much. I suggest you take a look at it when given the chance.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alright look, I'll level with you. I read this book as part of my main grade 11 chemistry assignment and I admit I underestimated the depth and complexity of 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb'. Normally I really enjoy books that explore all the events and details but...this particular book requires a level of understanding and patience that you probably wouldn't find in a casual reader of the genre. Having said that, Richard Rhodes, the author, does an amazing job at accuratly describing one of the most important events in mankind's history in glorius detail. The writing style is one you would expect from a non-fiction history book. Very formal, dialoge is restricted to interviews. As such, there isn't much character development, but considering the purpose of the novel it doesn't really matter. To a younger audiance it could be percieved as either a classic or a horrible mistake. The plot itself is structered around the discoveries of the atom and the theories and speculations of it's potential.It later develops as a race between the Allies and Axis to discover it's lethal secrets before the other can master it's destructive power. I would recommend this book to either a fan of the genre, someone who adores science, or a history buff trying to include nuclear history in his/her area of expertise. I would NOT recommend this book to a light or casual reader of the genre or somebody who doesn't have at least a basic grasp of science. This book can be enjoyed by people other then the 'hardcore' readers of the genre. It may just require some effort to persevere through the complexities of the subject. In short an amazingly good read and a fasinating look at one of the most important discoveries of our time...I just wish I were a bit older. I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Recommended to me (et al) well over a decade ago by Prof. Fred Schell in some grad school chem class at UTK, this remains one of my favorite books. The historical and scientific accuracy is very good, and the writing is good enough to read like a novel. The downside is that it is not an 'easy read' for 'laypersons'. The author obviously assumes that the reader has an actual functioning brain, and is not afraid to use it. There is some actual math involved.(Yow!)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is truly remarkable. It reads like a novel yet is full of historical information and first hand accounts. Mr. Rhodes has completed a truly superhuman effort and has made me a real nonfiction fan. I immediatedly bought The Dark Sun and have the same opinion of that work as well. An absolute must read. The best non fiction I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone borrowed my copy and never returned it, so I've decided to order a replacement copy to read again. As noted in several other reviews, I found this to be one of the most compelling stories of science, history, and human psychology that I have ever read, and strongly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading in any of the three areas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I have ever read, fiction or nonfiction. "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" is thoroughly researched and beautifully written, a terrific intellectual adventure. Rhodes not only tells the story of the revolution in physics that led to the bomb, but also examines the evolution of warfare to a state where such a weapon could be built and used. The writing is gorgeous and language is powerful: the close of chapter 4, "The Long Grave Already Dug" still sends chills down my spine more than 20 years after reading this book. It will change the way you think about the world. Be sure and read the footnotes too; they are chock-full of interesting information.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is hard to imagine how much effort likely went into the research and development for this book. Though its size may seem daunting at first glance, the story is gripping enough to make it read like butter. Fully entertaining for both the layperson and the scientist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book details the development of the fission bomb beginning with the earliest discoveries in atomic physics by Rutherford and others. The book provides many details of the poitical history behind the development of the bomb. As a scientist, I was also impressed by the technical content of the book. Rhodes does a fabulous job of depicting the scientific and engineering difficulties with which the bomb's inventors had to contend. A fascinating report of one of the most fascinating events of the 20th century.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well deserving of the top swards it received.
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It made a big kaboomie
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Bye frown
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