Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World

Uranium: War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World

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by Tom Zoellner, Patrick Lawlor
     
 

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"Uranium is a common element in the earth's crust and the only naturally occurring mineral with the power to end all life on the planet. After World War II, it reshaped the global order - whoever could master uranium could master the world." "Marie Curie gave us hope that uranium would be a miracle panacea, but the Manhattan Project gave us reason to believe that

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Overview

"Uranium is a common element in the earth's crust and the only naturally occurring mineral with the power to end all life on the planet. After World War II, it reshaped the global order - whoever could master uranium could master the world." "Marie Curie gave us hope that uranium would be a miracle panacea, but the Manhattan Project gave us reason to believe that civilization would end with apocalypse. Slave labor camps in Africa and Eastern Europe were built around mine shafts and America would knowingly send more than six hundred uranium miners to their graves in the name of national security." "Fortunes have been made from this yellow dirt; massive energy grids have been run from it. Fear of it panicked the American people into supporting a questionable war with Iraq and its specter threatens to create another conflict in Iran. Now, some are hoping it can help avoid a global warming catastrophe." In Uranium, Tom Zoellner takes readers around the globe in this intriguing look at the mineral that can sustain life or destroy it.

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Editorial Reviews

Juliet Eilperin
[Zoellner] lively prose carries the reader through physics and history lessons alike, never failing to remind us what's at stake when it comes to uranium…policymakers and citizens alike need to read Uranium.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

In this fine piece of journalism, Zoellnerdoes for uranium what he did for diamonds in The Heartless Stone-he delves into the complex science, politics and history of this radioactive mineral, which presents "the best and worst of mankind: the capacity for scientific progress and political genius; the capacity for nihilism, exploitation, and terror." Because Zoellner covers so much ground, from the discovery of radioactivity, through the development of the atomic bomb, he doesn't go into great depth on any one topic. Nonetheless, he superbly paints vivid pictures of uranium's impact, including forced labor in Soviet mines and lucky prospectors who struck it rich in harsh environments, the spread of uranium smuggling, as well as an explanation of why it was absurd to claim that Saddam Hussein was attempting to purchase significant quantities of uranium from Niger. The only shortcoming is Zoellner's omission of the issue of radioactive wastes generated by nuclear power-a significant problem given the possibility of a growing reliance on nuclear power. (Mar. 9)

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Library Journal

Journalist and Men's Health contributing editor Zoellner follows up on his award-winning The Heartless Stone: A Journey Through the World of Diamonds, Deceit, and Desire with an equally intriguing investigation of the history of uranium development. He details the people, places, events, and science behind the pursuit of uranium for the first atomic bomb and the resulting arms races. Learn more about U-235, the Manhattan Project, Israeli scientist Ernst David Bergmann, African town and mine Shinkolobwe, plutonium, American explorer Charlie Steen, and pioneering journalist William L. Laurence. Writing for a general audience, the author weaves tales of espionage, science, and politics. Readers will be engaged by this story of the most powerful source of energy the earth can yield. Uranium is thought to be a friend to terrorists, a possible savior against global warming, and an element that has made millionaires while destroying the lives of millions. Complete with exhaustive notes for academic and general readers, this is recommended for every library.
—Ian D. Gordon

From the Publisher
"CRAZY, FASCINATING"
JOHN STEWART

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400160327
Publisher:
Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2009
Edition description:
MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.60(d)

What People are saying about this

Jon Stewart
"Crazy. Fascinating."
From the Publisher

"CRAZY, FASCINATING"
- JOHN STEWART

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