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How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction (Nation Books)

3.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1560256038
ISBN-10: 1560256036
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A straightforward and unhysterical guide to some of the more hair-raising nuclear, chemical and biological threats that have dominated the post-11 September world."

About the Author

Frank Barnaby is a nuclear physicist by training. He worked at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston and was Director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from 1971 to 1981. He currently works for the Oxford Research Group on research into military technology, nuclear energy, and the terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Nation Books
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (March 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560256036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560256038
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,003,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A reference book which does not delve into the exhausting details of the WMD technology but presents in a clear and easy to read text all the essential information. Of course the title is somehow misleading, as the book is not a manual for nuclear bomb producers. The strong point of the book is that it is not necessary for someone to have a PhD in Physics, Bilogy or Chemistry in order to understand the working principles of WMD.
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I thought at only 256 pages this book would be a quick read. Instead, it has about 40-50 pages of interesting information followed by either total repetition of previous information or extremely simplistic musings. (I hate not finishing a book, but this one was like reading a incoherant text book,
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I have read quite a lot on this subject so I almost did not buy it because I thought from a quickscan that I knew almost all this stuff and it would be too simple.
However I certainly learnt much from it. If you are looking for a good book to state the current world situation this book will do the trick in a quite readable form.
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The possibility of home-made WMD's is front page news nowadays. But if you happen to notice your neighbor reading How to Build a Nuclear Bomb: And Other Weapons of Mass Destruction (Nation Books), by Frank Barnaby, don't panic. Building WMD's is a lot easier said than done.

Building an A-bomb requires a bunch of money, specialized scientists, technicians, uranium, a uranium enrichment facility, and a big, big room to assemble the thing. Can you build one from spare parts? Maybe. But A-bombs aren't like bikinis - you can't mix and match the precision parts. What about buying an A-bomb on the black market? Okay. But remember, most countries can't afford nuclear programs. Neither can individuals.

Chemical weapons are a little bit cheaper than A-bombs. However, you still need a specialized chemists, a production facility, and a stockpile of exotic chemicals. And even if you do concoct a little poison gas, it's a tricky business deploying the stuff without killing yourself in the process. The problem is that when gas is released into the air, it typically goes where it goes - not where you want it to go. Anybody who has ever sat around a campfire knows that. Wherever you're sitting, that's where the smoke goes,right? And if that smoke is poison gas, Hasta la vista baby!

Biological weapons are probably the cheapest of the three. But, again, you 'll need specialized equipment and a suitable laboratory. Additionally, you have to know something about microbiology. Yikes! Then you have to decide what germ you want to weaponize and who'll sell it to you. Plague? Ebola? Anthrax? Smallpox? They're all horrific killers, but they're hard to acquire.
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Format: Paperback
Kim Jong-Un asked me to write this review for him since he forgot to pay the cable bill so they shut off his country's internet. Anyway, Mr. Kim found this book to be very helpful in creating his latest A-bomb that he built as a science fair project and detonated in January 2016. He originally told the world that he built a hydrogen bomb but after referencing this book, realized that it was actually just a tiny little A-bomb. For now he's just going to let the world keep thinking it was a hydrogen bomb because it sounds cooler and scarier.

Anyway, Mr. Kim demanded that I purchase the rest of these books so no one else can buy them and be copy cats trying to steal his design. I tried explaining that the publisher could just print more books but he said doing so would be an act of war against his country and he'd bomb all of the book publishers in the world so no one could print any more of them. He also demanded that I purchase the rest of the Uranium Ore from Amazon so he can start building his next science fair project but I don't think he realizes he's already spent his country's entire postage budget for 2016 and I sure am not going to be the one to tell him! I told him he should've got Amazon Prime so he could get the free 2-day shipping but he didn't listen.

Anyway, Mr. Kim also wishes to thank the author for writing this book and helping North Korea become the most powerful country in the galaxy. When he was born in that little cabin at the base of a magical North Korean mountain, just like his grandpa, he knew this day would come.

Well, I must be getting back to hand selecting each grain of rice for proper size and color for his dinner tonight.
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A good place to start, and a nice complement to Denton Moody et al's more detailed information in Nuclear Forensic Analysis (2015).
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