The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era

by Craig Nelson


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781451660432
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: 03/25/2014
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Craig Nelson is the author of Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness and the New York Times bestseller, Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon, as well as several previous books, including The Age of Radiance (a PEN Award Finalist chosen as one of the year’s best books by NBC News, the American Institute of Physics, Kirkus Reviews, and FlavorWire), The First Heroes, Thomas Paine (winner of the Henry Adams Prize), and Let’s Get Lost (shortlisted for W.H. Smith’s Book of the Year). His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, National Geographic, The New England Review, Popular Science, Reader’s Digest, and a host of other publications.

Table of Contents

Part 1 The Old World

1 Radiation: What's in It for Me? 3

2 The Astonished Owner of a New and Mysterious Power 8

3 Rome: November 10, 1938 55

4 The Mysteries of Budapest 73

Part 2 The New World

5 The Birth of Radiance 109

6 The Secret of All Secrets 140

7 The First Cry of a Newborn World 196

8 My God, What Have We Done? 206

Part 3 World's End

9 How Do You Keep a Cold War Cold? 225

10 A Totally Different Scheme, and It Will Change the Course of History 247

11 The Origins of Modern Swimwear 270

12 The Delicate Balance of Terror 276

Part 4 Power and Cataclysm

13 Too Cheap to Meter 303

14 There Fell a Great Star from Heaven, Burning as It Were a Lamp 312

15 Hitting a Bullet with a Bullet 327

16 On the Shores of Fortunate Island 340

17 Under the Thrall of a Two-Faced God 368

Heartfelt Thanks 381

Notes 383

Sources 399

Photo Credits 417

Index 419

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The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Iluvwords More than 1 year ago
This book explains the history of the development of nuclear science, the political and moral dilemmas. It is fast pace, interesting and well written and covers 70 years of history. It's information and perspectives that was not taught in school in the 60's and 70's. After reading this book one of the take aways was how close we have come on numerous occasions to nuclear war because of warmongers like Curtis LeMay and Richard Nixon. The crazies with their fingers on the nuclear buttons were less Russian and more American. MAD was successful in preventing a nuclear war but it spawned garden variety conventional conflicts that are no less destructive and wasteful if not pointless. Also, that because of well deserved mistrust of government and industry that nuclear power will not be a viable source of energy going forward despite it being much more environmentally friendly than carbon based fuels. I really liked this book.
Mitton More than 1 year ago
Nelson has written a readable overview of the atomic age thus far. Readers not familiar with the story will enjoy the book - it's easy to read and digest, it follows a logical progression, and it engages the reader. Those familiar with the science, however, will bristle. There are errors of minutiae and there are editorial decisions made for drama's sake rather than firm accuracy. I am very familiar with the unit REM but have never seen it defined as 'a measure of the cancerous effects of radiant energy'. Nelson freely admits his former ignorance concerning radiation. Maybe that is why he refers to its 'mythic' properties though it is well understood by science. I very much like his explanations about how, rather than something rare and obscure, we are quite literally bathed in the stuff and, in fact, are radioactive sources ourselves. I bothers me that he presents statistics as certainties and conjecture as fact. But there is much to like here and he makes no pretense that he writes a physics textbook. He argues that we are seeing the end of an age. He might be right but I'm not digging any graves quite yet
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ordered a hard-cover book and got a Nook. Nook is fine for some books but this is more like a reference book to be paged through and savored. I haven't touched it yet. Disappointing because I am a fan of those scientists