Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: America's Atomic Bomb Tests - The Collection
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on September 30, 2005
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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on March 5, 2007
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 But, it is nice to see these important historical documents preserved in a digital format.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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on February 9, 2006
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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on March 6, 2013
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. They concede that the Civil Defense efforts could assist survival at the edges of destruction in the expected megaton exchanges, but by omission concede the total destruction elsewhere. Pretty scary stuff.

One of the last videos has no audio, presumably for security reasons. The subject is Sub-Kiloton testing. The explosions are quite small, not even developing the common mushroom cloud. There are extensive images of many pigs being placed in grave-like fox holes and vehicles near ground zero. After detonations a fellow runs in to measure with a Geiger counter, then waves in other technicians who remove the pigs with haste. There are also extensive graphics showing the amount of radiation of different kinds relative to distance (only hundreds of feet) from ground zero. My guess is these were the groundwork of what would be called "neutron bombs" in the early 80s. They didn't have much blast effect, but where extremely deadly to those in close proximity.

This collection makes excellent companions to Richard Rhodes' books, The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun. Both reads are far more technical, but facsinating looks at the history.
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on January 4, 2016
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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on October 14, 2007
Awesome detail on atomic bomb tests. Great for the nuclear hobbiest, especially if you want more detail on the tests.
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on November 30, 2009
As others have pointed out it is very technical!

Some sections discuss and show troops interacting with the tests and the narrator talks how there were plans to set off nuclear explosions with troops on regular bases, so the troops would feel at ease with nuclear explosions going off next to them in battle!

If you like details these DVDs are for you.
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on March 22, 2013
This technical series of motion pictures tells us how the first-generation nuclear bombs were tested and evaluated. The reflection of the shock wave from an airburst is described, and how it constructively interferes with the emanating blast wave to increase the radius of destruction by about 50% over a comparable groundburst. The tests show how an assortment of flammable materials was exposed near the nuclear explosion to assess the incendiary effects of nuclear explosions. In another test, airplanes were placed near a nuclear explosion to determine to what extent they could survive such an explosion and be flyable. The tests confirmed the cubic scaling effects extrapolated from smaller, conventional explosions. (Thus, if the radius of explosive effects is to be doubled, the explosive force of the bomb must be increased eightfold.)

In some other tests, troops were placed in foxholes near the explosion to familiarize soldiers with nearby nuclear explosions. They were to have respect for nuclear weapons--not fear. They were assured that their fertility would not be damaged, and that they would not glow after the explosion.
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on March 16, 2013
Very technical, but interesting. I felt like I was in school, science class to be exact. I always loved watching films in class, not just because I could escape the usual boredom, but because I actualy enjoyed most of what they showed us.
They go over every little detail and that can be boring at times. there are some very interesting clips and good information to soak up, but I would recomend brewing a pot of coffee first.All in all, I would say it's definitely worth the money.
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on September 28, 2015
This are the original presentation films concerning the topic and are NOT a fluffed-up re-presentation of the original works, such as is found on “Trinity and Beyond”. If you want to be entertained, expect to be bored by this film.
If you want the original experience and have all the details that can be presented [and have it presented in excruciating detail], this is for you. A most excellent piece of atomic history.
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