Monday, October 10, 2016

[Book] The Making of Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes

There are books; there are good books, and then there are masterpieces. But "The Making of Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes is a not just an ordinary masterpiece; it's a magnum opus of epic proportions. 

There are scores of tomes written about the Manhattan Project, but this book is universally acknowledged as THE definitive history of the subject. And rightfully so, because it is multiple books rolled into one:  Scientific discoveries, political intrigue, technological and engineering difficulties, and the thoughts and actions of political leaders, scientists and military staff associated with the project. 

It's a beast of a book, 800 pages of text (set in small typeset) plus 60 pages of photos, and it covers a huge time span, from the beginning of 20th century culminating in the atomic bombs that literally obliterated the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

While you feel a sense of wonder and excitement reading about giants of physics, such as Einstein, Fermi, Oppenheimer and many others and how they solved complex issues, the last hundred pages make you weep reading about the immense suffering of civilians that were slaughtered by bomb. 

Like a true historian, the author narrates actions and events in a non-partisan way, without taking sides or assigning blame. It should come as no surprise that the book has won a number of literary awards, including Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction . 

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