Read Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb by Richard Rhodes Free Online
Book Title: Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb|
The author of the book: Richard Rhodes
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Reader ratings: 3.5
Edition: Simon & Schuster
Date of issue: December 31st 1995
ISBN 13: 9780684804002
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 29.20 MB
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Years ago I'd read and enjoyed Rhodes's earlier The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Because that was a history of atomic research, the Manhattan Project, and the resulting bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I'd expected Dark Sun to be a history in a similar style. It's partly that; the record of how thermonuclear theory was developed into a weapon is only a piece of the huge story he tells. Dark Sun, continuing the history of nuclear arms begun with The Making of the Atomic Bomb, includes 2 important facets of the nuclear arms story: espionage and Soviet nuclear arms research. Large portions of the book are devoted to detailing how the Soviet Union obtained atomic weapons technology from persons within the Manhattan Project and how they'd begun their own development by the end of the war. The story of how they acquired that knowledge as well as the stories of the individuals responsible for the espionage makes for fascinating reading. Also a necessary part of the history is the evolution of Soviet nuclear weapons and testing. There are many surfaces to these complicated events, but Rhodes's grasp of them seems sure, from the political maneuverings of high-powered intellectuals within the scientific community to a history of the Cold War and the arms race to well-honed portraits of the major players involved at all levels. Because the chapters dealing with nuclear theory, bomb design, and fission were over my head, I was grateful they aren't the bulk of the book; I struggled with understanding in ways I didn't remember from my reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb. The most fascinating chapters of the book--the accounts of espionage and the Soviet research and development--aren't technical at all, and they make for gripping reading. For me, Rhodes covers the Cold War and arms race and the many tensions and scares resulting from them too briefly. But, as I say, it's a huge book as it is. I was surprised by many things: at how extensive Soviet atomic research was before the end of the war, for instance, and at how single-mindedly Curtis LeMay and the men around him tried to effect a preemptive war with the Soviets, and at how destructive thermonuclear weapons themselves are. I thought I knew, but I didn't. Good book.
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Read information about the authorRichard Lee Rhodes is an American journalist, historian, and author of both fiction and non-fiction (which he prefers to call "verity"), including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb (1986), and most recently, Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race (2007). He has been awarded grants from the Ford Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation among others.
He is an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. He also frequently gives lectures and talks on a broad range of subjects to various audiences, including testifying before the U.S. Senate on nuclear energy.
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