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100 Suns Hardcover – October 21, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Scientific American
Philip Morrison, emeritus professor of physics at M.I.T., wrote the book review column for this magazine for more than 30 years. He was a member of the Manhattan Project and a witness of the first test.
Top Customer Reviews
It is somewhat personal to me as I was one of the 900 Marines 2 miles from the HOOD detonation on July 5th, 1957. I did not know until I read the caption in the book that I was present at both the largest, and first hydrogen, bomb exploded in the US.
I hope to hell we never see any comtemporary photos of atomic explosions. The photos in this book ought to be enough for all time.
For those of you that like the feel of a solid book in your hands, "100 Suns" will not disappoint. The 208 pages contained within are high-quality, thick photo pages. Each photo is displayed over the entire page and are of excellent quality. There are no wordy descriptions written across the photos, or at the bottom of the pages. All information is noted in the rear of the book, where there are short descriptions of each bomb test that is documented in this book.
A previous review stated that if you have seen "Trinity & Beyond: The Atomic Bomb Movie" that there is nothing new here. This is true in the respect that most of these tests are covered in that documentary. However, "100 Suns" allows you to examine the photos and reflect upon them in a way that film does not allow. Additionally, the book shows pictures of the people involved in the tests (soldiers and such), which is an aspect that the "Atomic Bomb Movie" does not tap into in depth.
Overall, this is a great piece of photo history that will also fufill a role as an excellent coffee table book.
They have a way of creeping into your consciousness, with reminders of what you read or saw, etched in your memory, nudged back to the surface by a thought, a comment, or simply because you can't seem to stop thinking about them.
Michael Light's "100 SUNS" is one such book, and compelling to the point I feel it important to write about here.
The book documents two decades of U.S. nuclear testing through 100 unreal, yet so very real, photographs. Half are of the desert land based tests, the others are of tests performed over the ocean. Most are of the mushroom clouds, but many show the military personnel that observed these detonations.
The photographs, simply put, are stunningly beautiful and terrifying all at once. In general they gradually depict increasingly powerful explosions, from the first nuclear test, Trinity, that began mankind's nuclear era, to the megaton monster tests in the Pacific Ocean.
Each photograph is detailed at the back of the book, which while inconvenient, does at least keep the photo pages uncluttered and focused on the images. The images are identified by the test's name and the tonnage. The names of the tests are unremarkable, certainly intentionally given what they identified, yet image after image gets burned into your mind, not soon to be forgotten. A time line of the nuclear arms race helps pull all the visuals together.
These are reminders of terrifying destructive power that used to be a daily reality, and that today, with the concern that nuclear bombs might get into the hands of terrorists, is once again a force of human nature that cannot be neglected.Read more ›
Knowing that these images represent the ability to destroy on a massive scale, one might find it hard to divest themselves of their instinct to be horrified and shun these pictures, but if you can do so, I think you'll find a great collection of some of the most stark, eerie, organic and beautiful images of our recent secret history. The fact that these pictures were taken for documentation purposes, rather than those of art, makes the dichotomy between the beauty and the horror of this book even more apparent.
Well worth the simoleons.
There's the seemingly harmless--and innocently named--Little Feller I (#46), a "mere" 18-ton-TNT-equivalent delicate puff rising from the barren Nevada desert, captured 40 seconds after detonation.
And then consider Bravo, the largest single nuclear explosion ever. At 15 megatons--the equivalent of 15 million tons of TNT--it released in an instant more energy than all the ordnance spent in World Wars I and II combined.
The list of captions in the back of the book provides interesting data about each test and makes a nice tidy summary of our government's Cold War excesses. Light's book includes a chronology of developments in the nuclear era, including year-by-year counts of Soviet and U.S. nuclear weapons stockpiles. It is noteworthy that, during the hottest years of the Cold War, when the U.S. public was being warned of a widening "missile gap" with the Soviet Union, we always had a greater number of warheads, often as many as ten times more.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We love 100 Suns so much that we have bought it twice (one as a gift and one for us). If you go to a big box book store and have it special ordered, it will cost you roughly $100! Read morePublished 6 months ago by Shirley Robinson
Beautiful, haunting reminder of what humanity is capable of. This book offers a visual and emotional experience that history texts cannot. Read morePublished 10 months ago by L. Helinski
Great picture book of US nuclear testing photos. Beautiful prints of selected nuclear explosions. Wonderful gift or coffee table book.Published 19 months ago by David M.
Both '100 Suns' and 'Full Moon' give a visual - sometimes visceral - understanding to their respective subjects I have gotten from no other source. They are unique.Published 21 months ago by Kim Koch
This book is simplistic, yet still overwhelming. The reality of these pictures never escapes me. A perfect addition to any coffee table or library.Published 23 months ago by A
About the quality of the book: It is a book of photographs, but the photo reproduction in the book is only ok, at best. Read morePublished on June 7, 2012 by Cheryl A. Zuccaro