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The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground
     

The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground

4.1 10
by Michael Harris
 

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Catch-22 with radiation.
Area 51 meets Dr. Strangelove.
Except it really happened.
Operation Redwing, the biggest and baddest of America's atmospheric nuclear weapons test regimes, mixed saber rattling with mad science, while overlooking the cataclysmic human, geopolitical and ecological effects. But mostly, it just messed with guys' heads.
Major

Overview

Catch-22 with radiation.
Area 51 meets Dr. Strangelove.
Except it really happened.
Operation Redwing, the biggest and baddest of America's atmospheric nuclear weapons test regimes, mixed saber rattling with mad science, while overlooking the cataclysmic human, geopolitical and ecological effects. But mostly, it just messed with guys' heads.
Major Maxwell, who put Safety First, Second and Third. Except when he didn't.
Berko, the wise-cracking Brooklyn Dodgers fan forced to cope with the H-bomb and his mother's cookies.
Tony, who thought military spit and polish plus uncompromising will power made him an exception.
Carl Duncan, who clung to his girlfriend's photos and a dangerous secret.
Major Vanish, who did just that.
In THE ATOMIC TIMES, Michael Harris welcomes readers into the U.S. Army's nuclear family where the f-words were fallout and fireball. In a distinctive narrative voice, Harris describes his H-bomb year with unforgettable imagery and insight into the ways isolation and isotopes change men for better--and for worse.

"A gripping memoir leavened by humor, loyalty and pride of accomplishment. A tribute to the resilience, courage and patriotism of the American soldier." --Henry Kissinger

"One of the best books I've ever read, combining elements of Catch 22 and Dr. Strangelove in a memoir both hilarious and tragic. A 'must' read, destined to become a classic." --John G. Stoessinger, Ph.D. (Harvard), winner of the Bancroft Prize for Inernational Affairs, member of the Council on Foreign Relations

"Harris has seamlessly presented a colorful cast of characters, and a shockingly honest depiction of his experience. The effect is at once deeply personal and politically profound." --Senator Charles Schumer

"Harris' frank and disturbing descriptions of the criminally irresponsible proceedings on Eniwetok, and the physical and mental pain he and others endured, constitute shocking additions to atomic history. Amazingly enough, given his ordeal, Harris remains healthy." --Booklist

"Harris uses a chatty, dead-pan voice that highlights the horrifying absurdity of life on the island:  the use of Geiger counters to monitor scrambled eggs' radiation level, three-eyed fish swimming in the lagoon, corroded, permanently open windows that fail to keep out the radioactive fall-out and men whose toenails glow in the dark. (The money initially earmarked for enlisted men's goggles was diverted to buy new furniture for the colonel's house. 'Goggles are important,' Harris is told. 'But the colonel's furniture is important, too.') An entertaining read in the bloodline of Catch-22, Harris achieves the oddest of victories: a funny, optimistic story about the H-bomb." --Publisher's Weekly

"Brilliantly conceived, elegantly rendered and persuasively authentic." --Robert B. Parker, bestselling author of the Spenser and Jesse Stone series

Editorial Reviews

John G. Stoessinger winner of the Bancroft Prize for Inernational Affairs
"One of the best books I've ever read, combining elements of Catch 22 and Dr. Strangelove in a memoir both hilarious and tragic. A 'must' read, destined to become a classic." --John G. Stoessinger, Ph.D. (Harvard), winner of the Bancroft Prize for Inernational Affairs, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
member of the Council on Foreign Relations - John G. Stoessinger winner of the Bancroft Prize for Inernational Affairs
"One of the best books I've ever read, combining elements of Catch 22 and Dr. Strangelove in a memoir both hilarious and tragic. A 'must' read, destined to become a classic." --John G. Stoessinger, Ph.D. (Harvard), winner of the Bancroft Prize for Inernational Affairs, member of the Council on Foreign Relations
Henry Kissinger
"A gripping memoir leavened by humor, loyalty and pride of accomplishment. A tribute to the resilience, courage and patriotism of the American soldier."
Dr. Kissinger - Henry Kissinger
"A gripping memoir leavened by humor, loyalty and pride of accomplishment. A tribute to the resilience, courage and patriotism of the American soldier."
Publisher's Weekly - Publisher's Weekly Publisher's Weekly
"Harris uses a chatty, dead-pan voice that highlights the horrifying absurdity of life on the island: the use of Geiger counters to monitor scrambled eggs' radiation level, three-eyed fish swimming in the lagoon, corroded, permanently open windows that fail to keep out the radioactive fall-out and men whose toenails glow in the dark. An entertaining read in the bloodline of Catch-22, Harris achieves the oddest of victories: a funny, optimistic story about the H-bomb." --Publisher's Weekly
Publisher's Weekly Publisher's Weekly
"Harris uses a chatty, dead-pan voice that highlights the horrifying absurdity of life on the island: the use of Geiger counters to monitor scrambled eggs' radiation level, three-eyed fish swimming in the lagoon, corroded, permanently open windows that fail to keep out the radioactive fall-out and men whose toenails glow in the dark. An entertaining read in the bloodline of Catch-22, Harris achieves the oddest of victories: a funny, optimistic story about the H-bomb." --Publisher's Weekly
Senator Charles Schumer Senator Charles Schumer
"Harris has seamlessly presented a colorful cast of characters, and a shockingly honest depiction of his experience. The effect is at once deeply personal and politically profound." --Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Schumer - Senator Charles Schumer Senator Charles Schumer
"Harris has seamlessly presented a colorful cast of characters, and a shockingly honest depiction of his experience. The effect is at once deeply personal and politically profound." --Senator Charles Schumer
Booklist - Booklist Booklist
"Harris' frank and disturbing descriptions of the criminally irresponsible proceedings on Eniwetok, and the physical and mental pain he and others endured, constitute shocking additions to atomic history. Amazingly enough, given his ordeal, Harris remains healthy." --Booklist
Booklist Booklist
"Harris' frank and disturbing descriptions of the criminally irresponsible proceedings on Eniwetok, and the physical and mental pain he and others endured, constitute shocking additions to atomic history. Amazingly enough, given his ordeal, Harris remains healthy." --Booklist

Product Details

BN ID:
2940016660400
Publisher:
Word International
Publication date:
04/03/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
263
Sales rank:
811,984
File size:
1 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Harris was a public relations executive at CBS for many years, eleven of them on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Michael was the first person to greet the Beatles on their arrival in the United States and is the author of the national bestseller, ALWAYS ON SUNDAY:  An Inside View of Ed Sullivan, the Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra and Ed’s Other Guests.
His highly acclaimed memoir, THE ATOMIC TIMES:  My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground, is based on a more fraught experience, the 1955 U.S. H-Bomb tests, and has been called Catch-22 with radiation!  Area 51 meets Dr. Strangelove! “A gripping memoir leavened by humor, loyalty and pride of accomplishment. A tribute to the resilience, courage and patriotism of the American soldier.” Henry Kissinger

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The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
pjpick More than 1 year ago
With all the information we know today in regards to radiation exposure it does seem ludicrous that such reckless testing was done with the H bomb. Harris' interesting memoir chronicles his days spent on the Pacific Proving Ground in 1955 and depicts the stress of those who were stationed on a small island in the Atolls. Like the author, I would've been horrified to hear that a co-workers toenails were glowing in the dark,to swim with three eyed fish, or to stand outside in view of a mushroom cloud. Although I found the "guy" talk a little too coarse for my taste and was put off by some of the way the guys related to and "tortured" each other, the story kept me quite interested.
Braveluck More than 1 year ago
Have you ever been glad that nuclear war was averted? Nevermind, because it wasn't. In the 1950s we detonated nuclear weapons willy nilly and made people hang out in the fallout. The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground by Michael Harris is a gripping memoir. His narrative about his year in Eniwetok drags the reader through an experience that is surreal, malicious, and as dark as a thermonuclear explosion is unbearably bright. I was immediately attracted to this book because the Cold War and nuclear testing have always fascinated me. As a little girl I used to lay awake at night and worry about nuclear war. The fact is it happened before I was even born. My review of Trinity: The Atomic Bomb Movie explains my thoughts on this era pretty well. In Trinity I noticed the servicemen in the Pacific. There are films of them working, at the beach, and witnessing detonations. I always wondered what their experience was like. How many had died of cancer before their time? In The Atomic Times, Michael Harris provides the answers to all my questions and more. His horrific account of twelve months in a realm where "censorship is self imposed" locks the reader in the concrete hell of faggot-hunting MPs, insane commanding officers, and mutated fish. Oh, and the enlisted men didn't get goggles when they had to stand in formation and await the megaton dawn. They got to duck and cover. Michael Harris is a skilled writer who delivered a read I couldn't put down. I look forward to reading more of his work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing how callous the military can be about the welfare of its own rank & file. That was the most shocking part of the book. Only the officers got protective eyewear and everyone else was just told to stand and "turn away" from the atomic testing blasts? Are they kidding? That was unconscionable. These were real people, fellow Americans, young American soldiers!
jobroinc More than 1 year ago
Reading this book is the next best thing to being there, and since nobody in their right mind would have wanted to be there (catch-22?), then read the book. I can't be as eloquent as those who've sang it's praises before me, so I won't try. My philosophy is simple: if it's good, tell someone else. If you like it, do the same.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this look at one man's unique time in the army during the cold war. Very interesting look at how a draft based army can lead to a lack of concern for the troop's well being.
Sarek1 More than 1 year ago
Brilliant!!!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Ung-ung
BrianIndianFan More than 1 year ago
The Atomic Times is a most curious book. It is definitely a first-person historical account, but it also mixes in elements of Catch-22, Lord of the Flies and quite possibly One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. It is Michael Harris' account of his nearly year-long experience at Eniwetok in the South Pacific during Operation Redwing. This was where hydrogen bombs were tested in the early stages of the Cold War. While reading, one could be forgiven for not knowing exactly what type of book they're reading. There are stories of sexual self-gratification, military *ahem* "intelligence", a little science and some locker room antics. It takes awhile, but Harris brings us into the true nature of the story: the efforts to perfect the hydrogen bomb as a means of preserving the Mutually Assured Destruction doctrine that would come to be every bit a part of the Cold War as proxy wars - both with guns and on fields of athletic competition. The book's release - in 2005 - seems curious. This would have been a book that you would think would be prime for release during the discussion of nuclear weapons in the 1980s. It would have been a perfect compliment to Laura Dern crying on the Phil Donahue show about the possibility of being nuked with The Fixx playing the soundtrack. (In fact, the book's reviews come from congressmen, scientists, and noted swimsuit model and "activist" Christie Brinkley.) Indeed, even though Pershing II missiles no longer reside in the former West Germany, the book does serve a purpose. I would tend to look at this account in the same way I look at the tragic saga of the Tuskegee syphilis experiments; a tragic event in our nation's history that should not have happened as well as a reminder that our government often serves its own aims first and its citizens second...maybe. PARENTAL GUIDE: There are accounts of homosexual behavior/acts that may not be appropriate for readers of a minority age. There is also an account of bullying that may be hard to read for young people. BOTTOM LINE: A first-hand account of being on the front lines during the Cold War.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Testtt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago