- Paperback: 736 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (August 6, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0684824140
- ISBN-13: 978-0684824147
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 202 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb Reprint Edition
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An engrossing history of the scientific discoveries, political maneuverings, and cold-war espionage leading to the creation of mankind's most destructive weapon.
Includes 94 archival photographs and a glossary with brief descriptions of the hundreds of people interviewed and discussed in the book. Author Richard Rhodes won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award for his previous atomic tome, The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
From Publishers Weekly
Rhodes epic history of the hydrogen bomb and the Cold War arms race spent two weeks on PW's bestseller list.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
In that case; this book is an inevitability.
The book starts out with a survey of what happened at Los Alamos and the invention of the fission bomb. Rhodes goes into painstaking detail regarding the development of the bomb and atomic espionage. He links the communist party of The United States to the infiltration by the Soviet Union the bomb project.
Clearly there were enough holes in the system the Russians were nearly up to date on everything we knew and used that information to their advantage by taking years off their own bomb program.
The book continues in describing the debate regarding the fusion bomb. Some scientists felt it should be made in the national interest and yet others thought it was a disaster. They preferred science spends its time on making nuclear power work in a non-military fashion
Not only does the author do a fantastic job of showing this debate. But he also shows us how the US moved forward and eventually produced the first hydrogen bomb. He ultimately finishes the book by describing in detail the Cuban Missile Crisis and how close we came to mutually assured destruction.
Without a doubt this is not an easy read. It’s the kind of heavy book you might read in a major history class. You need to know something about physics, history, some politics as they relate to the history. If you happen to have a keen interest in Atomic History, then this book is clearly written for you.
Ultimately, the book was entirely enjoyable. I look forward to reading more books by author. His making of the atomic bomb book was required reading when I was in college and still remains on my book shelf. Somethings never get old.
If you would like to know more about atomic history then I would suggest the author’s previous book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb or the magnificent book, “American Prometheus, “ by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin.
All five stars, highly recommended to everyone who wants to know what REALLY happened after the Russians exploded their bomb without much research, just copying stolen US documents.
That explosion in 1949 triggered the 'super bomb' research in the USA supported by some and bitterly opposed by others here but performed also mostly by Sakcharov in USSR without any hesitation.
The author writes explicitly about MAD, 'mutual assured destruction', that resulted from possession of hydrogen bombs by USA and USSR and, hopefully, still holds.
At the end of the book he adds his own comment that put some nuances on MAD. Some of them are obvious: US generals could speak quite 'freely', I doubt that the Russian generals could. Also, the newer nuclear powers, especially North Korea, is not a really a nuclear power and not likely to attack South Korea anytime soon (if ever).
The MAD still holds and appears to be an intrinsic part of the world history, that is history after the fission was discovered in 1939.
The author should be admired for his long and comprehensive work on this book.
The book deals basically with the development of the hydrogen bomb (fusion weapon), and as such goes at the beginning in parallel to the Manhattan Project efforts, before becoming the main focus of the Los Alamos laboratories in the late 1940's.
While the development of the atomic bomb was a scientific (and later industrial) story, the development of the hydrogen bomb tells a wider story of politics, espionage, and encompasses (at least at the beginning) also the Soviet side. Some reviewers have found this part of the book somewhat out of place, but it is a necessary part that enables the reader to understand why (in part) almost 7 years elapsed in the US until a first fusion device could be tested, whereas that time was halved in the Soviet Union (SU). Unfortunately, the later development of the fusion weapons in the SU is only briefly addressed, which is most probably due to the lack of reliable information sources.
Overall, the author delivers an interesting and well-researched book of a scientific, political, social and espionage story that culminates in the establishment of a horrific arsenal of enough fusion weapons to `bomb human kind back into the Stone Age'. Today, almost 20 years after the final chapters of the Cold War, this looks so strange and difficult to understand that Richard Rhodes' book is a welcomed help. Having said that, the science fans will not be disappointed, either, for whom the chapter of the Mike device alone will be worth the price - highly recommended.