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America's Atomic Bomb Tests - The Collection

4.2 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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(Jul 19, 2005)
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$138.94 $89.98

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Editorial Reviews

Operation Tumbler Snapper (47 min) - Despite its effectiveness in World War II, little was actually known about an A-bomb's power. What ships could survive a blast and what ships couldn't? Just how powerful was the shock wave? These are the tests that provided the answers that today are the core of America's nuclear weapons knowledge. Formerly classified material documents Operation Tumbler Snapper, which detonated small yield atomic weapons to determine their effectiveness on troops, animals and buildings. At Ground Zero (74 Min) - Full photographic coverage of the only tests ever conducted of the effects of a nuclear bomb on a typical American community. The nuclear bomb was brought to "America's doorstep" during an unusual series of nuclear tests conducted in the Nevada desert in the 1950s. At Ground Zero contains the first-ever compilation of the full-length official documentaries that chronicle the effects of these tests as the full fury of a nuclear bomb is demonstrated on the typical American home. Operation Hardtack (90 min) - A priceless history of some of the most unusual nuclear weapons tests ever. Sixty two nuclear bombs were detonated as part of the Operation Hardtack series of nuclear tests. One of the few operations ever to be conducted at both the Pacific Proving Grounds and the Nevada Test Site, Hardtack combined balloon, surface, barge, underwater, underground, tower and missile shots.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: July 19, 2005
  • Run Time: 210 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0009HLCLK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,175 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I bought this collection at the same time I bought the "Atomic Bomb Collection". I found these two packages to be very complimentary. While the "Atomic Bomb Collection" contained documentaries focusing on nuclear weapons development and testing that were intended for general audiences (very good, by the way), this collection contains documentaries prepared by the US government as technical briefings for military and other government personnel. They provide a lot of interesting information, although it is likely to be a little more technical than some may prefer. But anyone with a high school level understanding of science can easily follow what's presented.

One will learn a lot about nuclear weapons and their effects from these films. Personally, I found them fascinating, and I'm sure I will watch them again to improve my understanding and address new questions that may arise in my mind. For those interested in science, Cold war history, or technological development, I recommend these films highly.

p.s.: The documentaries are from the late 50's, and they are presented in the style that was common in those days. That, in and of itself, is an interesting look back for the historian.
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This DVD is a great complement to the DVD's offered by VCE(Trinity and Beyond, Nukes in Space, etc). By itself, it is a highly technical look at the process of testing materials, military equipment, and building materials during three atomic test series covered on the DVD set. The quality of the film varies between the three discs. The last Civil Defense video on Disc 2 suffers a lot of audio warble, unfortunately. But, it is nice to see these important historical documents preserved in a digital format.

I've owned Trinity and Beyond for several years, and I really enjoy the way it is presented. But, it has to cover so many tests in a short amount of time that it skims over a lot of information about testing procedures, etc. You begin to get the impression that the military was doing these tests for their own amusement. After watching this DVD, I have a much better understanding of the entire process. It's easy to see why the military was eager to do so many tests in the early days of the atomic weapons program. The science of the atomic bomb was a moving target, and this DVD outlines the research they made.

Though I would never like to see anyone use atomic weapons ever again, their sheer power is fascinating, beautiful, and frightening at the same time. If you are interested in the science of atomic testing, you should really take a look at this set.
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If you are looking for video of actual bomb tests, this video is NOT for you. It is basically actual D.O.D reels declassified. It shows many in-depth testing measuring blast waves, heat etc. Good if you are of the sceintific nature, but gets a little boring if you are just looking for some 'action'.
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This product has found the right target audience by the sound of almost all the reviews. Most of us would have no clue of the history of how much research went into the development of atomic weapons in such a short period of time. I had an uncle who worked on the NTS but, of course, we knew nothing of the details of what he did there; just that he worked on atomic weapons testing. Now I have some idea what he might have been doing out there.

This collection gives some amazingly detailed insight to the huge logistical effort that had to be undertaken. Like another reviewer mentioned, you would think that the weapons were just popped off to see if they worked, then put them in the inventory. Rather frightening is the clear expectation that wars of the near future were going to be atomic. There is much explanation as to weapons effects on the targets of war, survivability of the same, and how to figure out how to get the most bang for the buck. The explanation of the precursor phenomenon and mach stem relative to yield and burst height is reasonably easy to follow. Although reasonably technical, they stop well short of any true technical commentary on weapon development. There is no discussion of the different components tested such as neutron initiator designs, or fission boosting tests in some of the shots.

Operations Cue documents the Civil Defense testing. It is fascinating that they make the point that the weapon used is a firecracker compared to "modern megaton weapons." They mention that the test still has merit because the data can be scaled to that of the much larger megaton weapon effects. Hilarious in a creepy way, the difference is tornado-level distruction verses virtual vaporization, of course.
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This set contains 3 different documentaries: Operation Tumbler Snapper (47 min), At Ground Zero (74 Min), and Operation Hardtack (90 min). Each video is on its own DVD. We have a lot of Atomic Bomb Testing documentaries in our house, but we didn't have 2 of the 3. If you are familiar with the format of the 50's testing documentaries, then you know what you are in for. There are a lot of repeated scenes from other videos, but there are also some new ones that we hadn't seen yet.

The case that the DVD's came in is rather thin and cheaply made, but I didn't buy it for the case. However you might not want to buy anything that is heavy at the same time as the case will likely arrive cracked or broken in shipment.

We are very happy with the buy and have recommended it to others.
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