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The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground Hardcover – September 27, 2005

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About the Author

MICHAEL HARRIS began writing The Atomic Times in 1955 when he was an army draftee stationed on Eniwetok and finished fifty years later. In between, he married novelist Ruth Harris and spent years as a public relations executive at CBS Television, eleven of them on The Ed Sullivan Show — he was the first person to welcome the Beatles to America on their initial trip to the United States. Mr. Harris’s Always On Sunday: An Inside View of Ed Sullivan, the Beatles, Elvis, Sinatra & Ed’s Other Guests is also available on Kindle.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press (September 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345481542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345481542
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By VicPell on December 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Vic Pelletier, Nassau County, N.Y.

I picked up THE ATOMIC TIMES because it looks like an interesting book and it is, but it's much more than that. I used to be an English teacher, and I was very impressed by Michael Harris' distinctive writing style, not like any other author I've ever read. In addition to the unique way he puts words together, the book also manages to be sad and hilarious at the same time - as a reader, I can't recall experiencing that before.

The book also has a collection of memorable characters (especially the pompous and absurd Major Maxwell) and is a fascinating story about Operation Redwing - and reads just like a novel, complete with cliffhangers. I told my wife she would also love THE ATOMIC TIMES, but she was skeptical. She hates military books and she was sure she would read more about the H-bomb than she wants to know. She only agreed to read it when I suggested a bet - if she loved it, she'd take me out dinner. If not, it would be my treat. She made the reservation in her name when she was only half way through. I'm willing to bet other women will feel the same way. Not to mention men.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was deja vu all over again for me! I served at Eniwetok during operation Hard Tack in 1958 which was the next operation after the one in this book. I had the good forture to be stationed on Parry Island which is where most of the scientists and civilians were billited and so did not have to deal with the military/ Also, my term of service was only 4 1/2 months.. Michael Harris' descriptions of the island and the activity were spot on. We worked a 54 hour week and spent most of our time off drinking - booze was cheap and abundant. And no women! Little did I know the kind of danger we were all being exposed to and the devestating power of the bombs was truly awesome. I did not think the scientists were especially incompetant, but their yield estimates on the shots carried an error factor of 25-33% which is a lot when you are talking about 30 megatons of explosive force. This is a good read.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Midwestern Booklover on December 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Midwestern Booklover, Columbus, Ohio

*****

I read about a book a week, and this is one of the best I've read this year.

I went straight through in one night, which I rarely do, and I didn't mind

being tired the next day. I was absorbed by the story of the author's childhood

(he was the victim of sexual abuse) and the way he surprised even himself by

coming to terms with a difficult past during the H-bomb tests. I understood

the power and the dangers of hydrogen bombs in a way I never did before and the importance of halting nuclear proliferation. I can

recommend this to anyone looking for "a good read" and a book about a really important subject that matters to us all.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Michael J. Confusione on December 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book that in non-technical language gives the reader some insight into the relationships that existed on this sparse island, Eniwetok, among the members of joint task force 7 during operation red-wing. Since this reader has never served in the armed forces and had an absentee father from the age of nine, I never was able to experience life in the armed forces. This book clearly explains what living would have been like, what having friends would have meant both in a positive and negative sense, and some of the everyday challenges and obstacles that were faced by the military men in the Marshall Islands. In addition to these very valuable insights, the book provides a humor and optimistic point of view that makes light of some of the very difficult circumstances encountered. Besides having strong political implications for the future as to what can happen to all of us, as well as the system under which the armed forces continues to operate, the book gives us a insight into human behavior under these circumstances that is clearly profound. The book was read in two sittings and has not only been talked about in some of my psychology classes, as I try to convey real-life situations of psychological dilemmas, but has also been recommended to colleagues, peers, and friends. It is a must-read book that will have you internally racing!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. S. Klein on December 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In the course of telling us the story of the madness of H-Bomb testing, the author introduces us to unforgettable characters and gives fascinating autobiographical insights with sometimes astounding candor. Humor and horror are present in appropriate proportions. One misadventure follows another as the military brass weaves and dodges, never quite letting the truth shine forth. One special piece of madness was the decision to issue protective goggles to the officers at the test site, but not to the enlisted men, for reasons that you would not believe unless you read it in the context of the full narrative. I strongly recommend this book to anyone with a penchant for exploring obscure corners of our history that do not necessarily reflect well on us.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By L. Roberts on December 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Riveting! I read it in one sitting. The memoir of a man with a troubled childhood who finds himself while stationed at the Atomic proving grounds on Eniwetok Island during the mid-fifties. It is a story of men at their best and worst during a hairraising period in the development and testing of the US atomic bomb This book is funny, sad and scary at the same time. It is as timely today as it was in the period that the author describes. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in people and politics and who appreciates good writing.
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