Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb
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...more
That book was all about "fission"...
Hydrogen bombs, well, that's all about "fusion"....so we're still talking about a thick and complicated book. (Now featuring even more neutrons!)
It was good, too, but it suffered from nuclear physics overdose because I read it after I read the first one. There's only so much heavy hydrogen you can wade through before you want a chase scene or so...more
There is a fantastic level of detail concerning the espionage at Los Alamos and other US installatio...more
A great story of the the war, the role of science, the bomb's specific technical evolution, and the people and politics. I find it rare for an author to weave all those elements into a cohesive story, particularly on such a dauntingly complex technical subject.
Too often, the history of science and technology is presented as separate, linear and logical, distinct from the messiness of people, relat...more
While the basic operational principles of thermonuclear weapons are covered, there is not as much detail as was found in...more
Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb covers more than the title suggests. The narrative begins with Soviet espionage in the 1940s, coving such figures as the physicist Klaus Fuchs, the courier Harry Gold, David Greenglass the enlisted man at Los Alamos, and the Rosenbergs. These figures and others provided the Soviets with a good deal of information about the atomic bomb program, in particular the existence of plutonium and the use of implosion to create a plutonium bomb (as opposed to a...more
The book roughly starts where its predecessor ended, and tells the story of the main characters in the Manhattan project, and how they started work on the Next Big Thing -- the hydrogen bomb, as invented by Ulam/Teller. The book is a bit less about the science and more about the politics of the H-bomb project, but still t...more
The rest of it is largely concerned with Soviet espionage, the history of some as...more
The author traces the development of the arms race between the US and the USSR after World War 2, and what drove the U.S. to develop weapons of insane destructive power. He shows that a big part of the "arms race" was irrational fear on the part of U.S. policy-makers. The U.S. had some truly crazy folks (LeMay, Borden) in charge of its nuclear weapons program, and with their finger on the but...more
The book has multiple strands. Another one, that I hadn't seen before, was the creation and...more
Unfortunately, again as in the previous book, the writing style of the author is too often flat and boring. Especially in the description of the espionage facts, lecture is almost impossible. Fortunately, scientific introductions, explanation about the bomb and military strategies are better written and more enjoyable.
Overall, I believe it is a step forward, but the Author still need a lot of...more
Rhodes not only vividly details the rampant anti-Semitism in the United States that the Soviets exploited to gain the trust of Jewish scientists working on the project, but also he exposes the last days of Joseph Stalin and introduces the strong possiblity that he was mu...more
Invaluable for insight into the Soviet nuclear program, which is a pretty hazy subject for most Americans (and probably to many contemporary Soviet citizens as well).
Instead the book spends about 700 pages describing who was spying on who and how the Soviet Union was stealing secrets.
The history of the spies is a fine subject, but it is just not what I thought I was getting when I started this book.
It makes you realize that all matters of great import are throughly nuanced and defy the simplified treatment that we routinely receive via modern press.