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on August 5, 2015
This is by far the best reference for atomic bomb development in print. Other reviews detail that.

I might mention you will probably read each page of this with Google at hand, as well as any other reference you have. It does the job of connecting dots that other authors have not done.

Example: I have not read any other clear description of the structure of the gun type bomb. It isn't at all what you have in mind.

Significance of the "tamper" isn't clear in other references.

The engineering of the entire process becomes clear with this detail. Many other references cover the details, but this book allows you to understand the engineering by not leaving out all the details of such as the plutonium gun bomb (photos, for example) that was in development and dropped. That sort of "try anything in parallel" resulted in a lot of fits and starts, and you can figure them out from John's book in a very interesting fashion.

Jim Stephens
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on March 28, 2014
That the US used two atomic bombs on Japan to end World War Two is well known. What is not as well known are the details of those weapons and the specific technical efforts that went into their making.

This book hansomely solves that lacking. The author has done an outstanding job of going the extra mile in providing volumnious details of every technical aspect of these weapons. It is a fascinating thing to see the technology behind them in what was truly the cutting edge of science and engineering in 1945.

This is a specialized book for individuals seeking this very specific knowledge and in rewards that seeking generously.
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VINE VOICEon September 28, 2006
"Atom Bombs: The Top Secret Inside Story of Little Boy and Fat Man" fills an important niche in the literature about the development of nuclear weapons. There is no shortage of books on the Manhattan Project, including such classics as "Now It Can Be Told," "Brighter Than A Thousand Suns" and "The Making of the Atomic Bomb." Biographies of scientists who worked on the project, including Robert Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, also abound. One would think that there would not be much fresh material to write about a project that, after all, took place more than 60 years ago. But new books on the subject continue to crop up. One of the latest, "Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima," released in 2005, details the last couple of weeks before the atomic bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that ended World War II. In reading "Shockwave," I found that virtually all of the passages that referred to the technical details of the "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" bombs footnoted John Coster-Mullens' "Atom Bombs." So I had to buy it. It was an excellent decision.

According to a review in "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists," Coster-Mullen has not yet found a publisher willing to print his book, which is unfortunate--it deserves to be issued in bound hardcover form. Hopefully someday it will be. Now, what you get is a spiral-bound 8-1/2x11-inch, 402-page book with nice thick card-stock covers. Although it is printed on a laser printer, the printing quality is very good, and the photos and drawings are clear, sharp and crisp. My order, shipped directly from the author in Wisconsin, showed up very quickly and in perfect condition in a large padded envelope.

Enough about the appearance--what about the content? Quite simply, there is NO better source of information on the technical details of the world's first two nuclear weapons. In the first 88 pages, after touching on the history of the Manhattan Project and the "Silverplate" Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" bombers that were specially modified to carry the weapons, Coster-Mullen describes the design, configuration, materials and assembly procedures of "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" to an unprecedented level of detail. But wait, there's more! The bulk of "Atom Bombs" is made up of appendices containing hundreds of pages of photos, drawings, sketches, patent applications and declassified source documents that reveal nearly every detail about the design, development, construction and testing of "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" that you could ever want to know. This is really "nuts and bolts" stuff, literally. Finally, there are over 30 pages of endnotes, which themselves constitute a unique and valuable resource. You'll know more when you finish reading "Atom Bombs" than you can learn from all of the other books on the subject combined. It gets my highest possible recommendation.
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on March 24, 2013
this book is great! Well written & very informative, tons of photos of the original bomb assembly, etc. This book is packed with little-known facts such as
- it was the 'ring' assembly which was fired down the barrel of a naval gun using cordite to impact on the 'disk' assembly in the nose of Little Boy - all previous texts I had read incorrectly assumed that it was the rings which were stationary in the nose and the stack of disks made up a 'bullet' which was the actual projectile.
- "Atom Bombs" even includes the exact weight and number of the rings and disks which made up the 'bullet' and 'target.'
- Extensive references to other little-known books & publications
- Location of other original Little Boy assemblies which were built at Los Alamos but never used, and what happened to them after 9/11
Well worth the price IMHO
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on December 22, 2016
Fantastic read.
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on January 6, 2017
Without question one of the best books on the Manhatten Project. Well researched and well written.
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on February 9, 2018
Full of detais and pictures you do not find anywhere else. It is not a history of the whole Manhattan Project but it is probably the most accurate and complete history of the first three bombs. Worth every dollar.
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on January 4, 2014
John Coster-Mullen is an amazing writer, detailing what is clearly one of the most precise accounts of how the first nuclear weapons were built. If there is any book that answers most every question about atomic bombs, this is the book.

According to one Manhattan Project Legend, John got this one "exactly right". And he did.

Let's hope nuclear wannabes don't read this one.
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on October 25, 2011
This is an excellent compendium of open-source (probably unclassified) materials about the making of the two atomic bombs that ended WW2 in the Pacific. It is more technical than it is biographical, in that it deals more with what went on than who did what. The author has done a great job of finding all this data and bringing it together in some sort of order that makes sense to the reader.
The seller was fast and responsive to email queries, the book protected in bubble wrap, and all was exactly as advertised.
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on August 22, 2015
Great for any tech mind types who want to know how it really worked. More than reading research went into this. Very good info.
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