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Made in Hanford: The Bomb That Changed the World Paperback – April 15, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Williams is a former Seattle Times science fiction writer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 190 pages
  • Publisher: Washington State University Press (April 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874223075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874223071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #364,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a terrific story. Only 40 pages into the book and already fascinated (now almost finished). Hill is clearly an exceptional writer (family journalistic background?).

From the opening two pages (the chronology of several events which set the perspective for all that follows) onward to the story of how engineers were living in his own house while he was a youngster, he writes engrossingly as if it's historical fiction. Doesn't read at all like a regular documentary, but rather I actually can "hear David McCullough reading the story to me". It's that "smooth, well paced and connected.

I'm also fascinated (an old engineering graduate from MIT) in the physics, which is explained simply and directly. Lots of stuff I never learned about at MIT even. What a surprise. Am learning some chemistry all over again and loving it.

Look forward to passing the book along to others (including my grandson) to read.
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Made in Hanford, the Bomb that Changed the World. I purchased this book hoping to learn more about Hanford. I am an environmental engineer and although this area is not my specialty, in recent years I have been reading everything I can about the various bomb and nuclear power developments, in the hopes of obtaining a better understanding of their overall environmental impact. Of the various sites related to the Manhattan Project, it seems that less is written about Hanford that any other even though Hanford must be the worst of all the sites in terms of environmental problems. This book is only a little more about Hanford that other Manhattan project books. The first seven chapters describe physics and how the various scientists came to the conclusion that fission was possible and had actually been observed in laboratories. Chapter 8 describes Hanford's B reactor and the problems that were overcome to develop it. There is some new material for me regarding Hanford - the preparations for secrecy prior to the site's construction, the various gag orders and some detail on the processes. The last chapters describe the test site in the Pacific and some of the problems that the tests created. I had not understood our poor treatment of the Marshal Islanders - which seems very shabby given the amounts of money we have spent in recent years on much less deserving people and projects. I did learn something new from this book, but I think this is a good book for a newcomer to this topic to read first. It is much less to read that Rhodes' books on the making of the bombs, but provides a pretty good summary of the various aspects of the bomb development and its aftermath. It is well written and contains some human interest stories from the author's personal or family involvement.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
"Made in Hanford" describes the opening of the Atomic Pandora's Box of nuclear weaponry. Not only did the research and production of fissionable materials at Hanford end WW II, it started the cold war.

Hill Williams clearly explains the basics of nuclear physics and the early physicists and chemists who worked for the extremely secret Manhattan District (official codename: "Development of Substitute Materials"). Even in 1943 Harry S. Truman did not have clearance to know about covert happenings in Hanford, Washington. Manhattan District was charged with making a nuclear fission bomb before the Germans or Japanese. The Manhattan District had large facilities in Chicago, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, and Hanford. The military politics and block out of information weave an interesting story of the clandestine operations and is as interesting as the race to make a workable A-bomb.

This Manhattan engineering project grew to employ more than 130,000 people and cost roughly 24.4 billion in 2011 dollars.

Mr. Williams uses his long experience as a newspaper writer to keep his book interesting from start to finish. His personal account of being present at a test in Nevada and Bikini Atoll and his stories about the displaced indigenous islanders make the book warm and personal. The infighting of top government officials, military generals and quirky scientists make this story a nice quick read and lubricates the drier scientific sections into a very palatable drama.

If you want to learn more about the history of the Inland Northwest, World War II, or how an atomic bomb is made, "Made in Hanford" is a well written book that will fulfill this wish.
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I'm not sure I should review a book that I haven't finished but I'm going to anyway. I stayed up too late last night reading Mr. Williams captivating narrative of the development of the Hanford Works and the discovery and manufacturing of plutonium. I'm working on a writing project of my own about Hanford in the 1940's. This book is as real to being there as you can get. The science is explained so a math-science-challenged dummy like me finally has a glimmer of understanding. Thank you Mr. Williams for your clear, cogent prose, your historical accuracy and your passion for this subject.
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An excellent read - follow the process from the early beginnings. I enjoyed the engineering aspect of taking basically what was a lab experiment and designing and building a facility to produce plutonium in quantities needed to build the bomb. It is amazing when we consider the thousands of workers during the construction that the security was so excellent. There were only a very small few that knew what the end result was to be! I doubt if we could ever achieve that degree of security today what with the satellite technology that is available.
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