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100 Suns

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  174 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Between July 1945 and November 1962 the United States is known to have conducted 216 atmospheric and underwater nuclear tests. After the Limited Test Ban Treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union in 1963, nuclear testing went underground. It became literally invisible—but more frequent: the United States conducted a further 723 underground tests, the last in 19 ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published October 21st 2003 by Knopf (first published October 9th 2003)
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Sep 03, 2008 Kev rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Clayton Crockett, Aaron Simmons, Gabe Gentry
This book is DISTURBING! And, I like it very much -- in fact it might be why I like it so much. The endnotes at the back of the book are the real payoff. The images are just presented with the bomb test code name, kiloton estimated yield, location, & date.

You have to get through the book to get to the supporting info. Very effective. These are beautiful images BUT they are terrible at the same time.

Nice primer on the basics of thermonuclear particle physics & radiation physical effects f
Peter Tillman
Review cribbed from "The Alien Online" (not by me)

The title refers to Robert Oppenheimer’s words after watching the first atomic weapons test in 1945. One of the fathers of the atom bomb, he said: ‘If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst forth at once in the sky, that would be like the splendour of the Mighty One…I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ Michael Light has taken him at his word; his book contains 100 pictures of – you guessed it – ‘suns’, the US military’s open-air nu
Randolph Carter
Jan 18, 2013 Randolph Carter rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Art lovers and fans of apocalyptic writing
Shelves: art, non-fiction, history
I love nuclear weapons. I'm fascinated by them. They can wipe out everything and leave a lingering poison that cleans up the rest. Except for the cockroaches, maybe. The capability to actually pull off apocalypto is what makes nuclear weapons so cool, better than any fictional apocalypse could possibly be. And its totally real. The instantaneous capability makes it much scarier than biological or nerve gas weapons. These latter are more likely to take more time and leave too many survivors, anim ...more
This book is a great read for anyone who wishes to know the power and terrible beauty that is the history of US atmospheric and underwater nuclear testing.

The set of 100 photographs are equally seperated into two groups: desert (Nevada) and ocean (the Pacific). The photos are labelled accroding to the codename designated by the US military. The names themselves do not have any relation to the nuclear wepon involved for that particular testing. Some of the names are chosen in a seemingly random f
Eugene Mah
As terrible as a nuclear detonation can be, this book manages to capture the spectacle and beauty from the above-ground nuclear tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site and other detonation sites in the 50s and 60s.

The book is a collection of 100 colour and B&W photos from the US National Archives and LANL of various detonations. Some are taken mere milliseconds after detonation and show fascinating detail. Others show the detonations with soldiers looking on. Aerial shots show the impressiv
A collection of stunning photographs from the United States nuclear testing program, unretouched and unembellished. Includes an index with information on the test series, date and estimated yield of each detonation. The 100 photos are divided equally between the Nevada Test Site and the Pacific Ocean tests, and many feature the US soldiers who witnessed the explosions, some from dangerous proximity.

These photographs provide beautiful, yet chilling testimony to the awesome destructive power of nu
I saw the pictures in this book as an exhibit at my local art museum over a year ago. The images and the descriptions are so haunting I had to return to them. These photos were like the sore that would heal because I couldn't stop picking it. Mushroom clouds causing lightning storms and flipping over ships or the images of soldiers watching tests with expressions that run from wonder to horror are coupled with descriptions that tell you things like the light of the explosions were so bright that ...more
Brilliant photos and surprisingly beautiful! No description of the science or anything, just the photos - very powerful!
Gary Misch
This is a very unusual book, even by picture book standards. It consists of 100 photographs of nuclear bursts. Some have the appearance of artwork, so it's good to keep in mind what you're looking it. A few show people in the foreground. In the early days of nuclear testing, the military made soldiers witness these events. The after effects must have been pretty nasty, even with protective clothing. I would call many of the photo spectacular. Hopefully, the last photographs of nuclear bursts hav ...more
Terrifying and beautiful.
A collection of images showcasing the "mushroom-like" cloud left after a bomb is dropped. The destruction it brings leaves an almost calm eerie paradox.
Tammy Flanders
My blog Apples with Many Seeds includes a review of 100 Suns:
100 photos of nuclear detonations. These pictures are absolutely devastating. And I think that makes them all the more beautiful.
A pictorial history of US nuclear testing in the 1950s and 60s. Stunning and horrific at the same time, a really beautiful book.
Nick Wallace
If you enjoy nuclear weapons (and who doesn't), every photograph in this book is hypnotizing.
I wish I'd known about the detailed captions in the back of the book BEFORE.
Jesse Weckroth
Beautiful amazing book!
Loved this!
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Michael Light is a San Francisco-based photographer and bookmaker focused on the environment and how contemporary American culture relates to it. His work is concerned both with the politics of that relationship and the seductions of landscape representation. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, and his work has been collected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The ...more
More about Michael Light...
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