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Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing Paperback – July 1, 1999

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In the 1950s and 1960s, over 100 aboveground atomic bombs were exploded in the Nevada desert. Miller gives us absolutely arresting accounts of most of them. He describes the goals, the explosion, and the yield, and includes fascinating details, many times from contemporary accounts by news reporters, bomb droppers, and others. Miller saves most of the detail, interestingly given, for descriptions of the paths of the nuclear clouds and the locations and character of the fallout all over the country. He deals extensively with coverups relating to fallout effects on humans and animals. Supplementing his dramatic chronicles are appendixes and maps that summarize the tracks of selected bomb clouds, with listings of the communities affected by each test. This in-depth and readable history of atomic testing in the United States is highly recommended. Daniel LaRossa, Connetquot P.L., Bohemia, N.Y.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"The greatest virtue of Under The Cloud is that it makes nuclear weapons tests personal events, impossible to forget by those who participated in them and forgotten only with difficulty by those who come to understand that all of us have been unwilling and unwitting participants."-Gerald E. Marsh -- Office of Arms Control and Defense Sciences at Argonne National Laboratory and co-author of Born Secret: The H-Bomb, the Progressive Case and National Security

Richard Miller's account of United States and Soviet efforts to develop the bomb and the history of nuclear testing in the U.S. from the first bomb up to the abolishing of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1974 is outstanding." -- The Christian Science Monitor

Richmond Virginia Times-Dispatch: :"Drawing his material from government files, Miller gives a thorough and formal look at the key events and the little-known side effects of all that was taking place. . The material is enough to make the story as fascinating as it is chilling." -- Robert Merritt, Richmond VA Times-Dispatch

Why then should this book be published at this time? Perhaps it is part of the Soviet-sponsored campaign to stop all nuclear tests, similar to the "ban the bomb" propaganda of the early 1960s." -- Dixie Lee Ray, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 548 pages
  • Publisher: Two Sixty Press (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1881043053
  • ISBN-13: 978-1881043058
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,431,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As one who has lived very close to this subject for nearly half a century, I find 'Under the Cloud' by R.L.Miller THE most exhaustive and comprehensive examination of our atmospheric nuclear testing program I have ever found. It's a facinating read, I've read it cover to cover, every single word, at least twice. The extensive fallout maps,the juxtaposing of 1950's social factors alongside the myriad of events (shots) provides the historian as well as the curious, with an insight not only to what we did,but why we did it. 'Under the Cloud' will make you feel like you're huddled in the trench 7000 yards from Ground Zero or having a cocktail in 'Doomtown' waiting for Apple II. If you only read one book on our Nuclear Testing Program, or can only have one book on this subject in your library,EVER, make sure it's 'Under the Cloud'. Order it now, but be advised,you're not going to put it down until the last page.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is great for people with little knowledge about nuclear phyiscs and the Cold war. Miller writes in a way that makes you feel apart of the action. He gives great insight into the lives of the scientists, civilians, political leaders, and armed forces during nuclear testing in the 1940's. If science is a hard subject for you to understand, this book will enlighten you mind and brighten your hopes in understanding the subject.
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Format: Paperback
Richard Miller's "Under the Cloud" is probably a must-read for any of the late baby-boomers like myself who grew up during the Cold War but mostly after above-ground nuclear testing had ended. I was born in 1957 and for most of my life, the above-ground tests were a thing of the past and not really much discussed. But Miller's book reveals how I and most others of my age were probably victims of fallout to some degree. The book provides a very good sense of time relative to the major test series and documents much of the fallout movement and intensity. Miller's narrative style is easy to read but at times a just a wee bit melodramatic. It also gets confusing for the non-physicist as he tends to change units of measurement for radiation exposure constantly - in one test the exposure is in rads, then it's in roentgens, then it's in millicuries - and most of us don't know the relationship. But these criticisms are quibbles with what is for the most part an outstanding book and a very revealing look at something the government wouldn't want you to know. Along with Richard Rhodes' books on the nuclear program, this is a first-rate volume.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent and thorough account of the nuclear testing era in America, the South Pacific and the Soviet Union. The book's focus is the open air testing in Nevada, and details of those tests and fallout trails in the 50s and 60s. The book is written in a style that makes it fascinating, not bogged down with complex scientific jargon. It sidesteps to describe what was going on in American culture at the time, in the cities that were virtually unaware they were downwind of deadly exposure. Author explains how it all occurred, why, and the tragic legacy it has left.

Highly recommended for anyone. Should be of interest to all since as the book so accuruately reveals, we were all downwinders.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have read it cover to cover a few times. This is a book that should be read in schools. A shocking and mostly untold portion of American history. To read about the extent of continental US Nuclear testing and the often covered up dangers (By the AEC) is a real eye opener. Many of the stories are told from the perspective of eye witnesses and include other bits of timely and relevant history that help to capture the moment. Pages of diagrams detailing the fallout patterns of many tests show that fallout was often scattered across the entire country (instead of just endangering the NTS area). A "must read" for anyone with an open mind towards real facts and American History.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm too young to have ever seen a nuclear test, but wish I could have. The book covers all the things the US did with nuke test, and where the fallout traveled. John Wayne filmed the movie "The Conqueror" in Monument Valley, in part because the dust swirled dramatically when horse thundered through. Problem is, the dust was radioactive. Everyone connected to the movie died of cancer. Various chapters cover nuclear accidents, and their outcomes. GREAT book, be you for or against nuclear weaponry, you'll find a lot of information in here...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I struggled through this book on my Kindle and I regret not getting the hard copy. The story is engrossing and is about on par with "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes. The book's first part deals with more detail about the weapon's development including new accounts of the German and Soviet bomb-making teams, but you don't read about anything but the USA in the second two-thirds of the book.

The focus is on the frequent nuclear tests and the fallout that has poisoned most of the United States and other countries.

The highly-detailed accounts of many nuclear shots emphasize the fallout aspect. It is a great book to read if you're interested in not just the science but the social implications of nuclear testing and the fallout that occurred in communities all over the United States.

**WARNING about the Kindle Edition.
It's a great book but do *not* buy the Kindle edition. Frequent misspellings, unreadable (and unlinkable) footnotes, and bleed-through of what appears to be a very bad 300 dpi OCR scan, page headers/footers interrupting the body text, and unacceptable line breaks make reading this thing a chore. They didn't even run this through a spelling checker. Shame on you, Amazon, for charging ten dollars for this sloppy scanning job. The only thing I can say positively is that the table of contents seems to work. I'm lodging a complaint about this shoddy Kindle book.

**EDIT** I'm tolerating the Kindle Edition, but anything that quotes a number is suspect. The OCR process did not capture numbers accurately so I'm not sure if they meant 10% of all units or if they really meant 10 units. The OCR software apparently has had a hard time interpreting percentages, footnote numbers, and any other numeric value.
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