Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bomb: A New History” as Want to Read:
The Bomb: A New History
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bomb: A New History

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews

A former nuclear weapons designer and head of nuclear weapons research at Los Alamos, Stephen M. Younger delivers an insightful and urgent inquisition on the role of nuclear weapons in the twenty-first century. Does the United States need a massive atomic arsenal in an era of precision bombs and missile defense? Under what circumstances might we use nuclear weapons? And h

Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Ecco (first published April 1st 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bomb, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bomb

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Will Byrnes
Ok, here’s a quiz. What is the difference between fission and fusion bombs? Ok, you know that one. How about the difference between active and inactive weapons, or the difference between a gun and an implosion machine? What are soft point, soft area, hard point and super hard targets? A little tougher?

The Bomb offers more than you ever wanted to know about nuclear weapons, unless of course, you are a policy wonk, or have an interest in disarmament issues. Younger has been there and done that whe
Richard Buro
Jun 01, 2017 Richard Buro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the topic who can understand the vocabulary.
Recommended to Richard by: the qualifications of the author and the topic.
The short version first . . .

I am not sure whether it is my excitement in watching things “blow up,” “lift off,” – in other words, seeing things go up in various stages of disintegration or perhaps, if lucky, launching into space. Or, rather, the idea that there are still things out there that could turn the Earth into the ultimate example of dystopia via the detonation of the various countries with their arsenals of the worst of the “WMD” or weapons of mass destruction. These worst of the worst
Aug 29, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book concisely reviewing the history of development of nuclear weapons and then efforts to control their use, prevent proliferation, etc. Culminates in a detailed discussion of his recommendations for 21st century, post-Cold War strategy in this area. Some stuff that is very familiar (history of Manhattan Project etc.) but quite a bit I either didn't know or hadn't thought much about (e.g., design of our nukes never took into account possibility of their sitting around untested for l ...more
Dec 16, 2011 Sheehan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read many books on The Bomb, and this one is probably the best at being concise and still touching on all relevant topics. The author's CV has him as a retired insider who clearly has a background on both the particulars of the Bomb as a machine (in need of repair and care) as well as the political decision-making that originated the current nuclear posture the US and other holding nations execute.

The first half is a basic introduction to the history of the Bomb and proliferation up to the
Oct 11, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book talks about nuclear weapons. It covers their history and some theory of operation, but it focuses on the politics of their production, use, possession, and attempts to defend against them.

The book is pretty short, and doesn't go into great detail of many of the topics it covers -- some small sections almost seem like expanded lists. One of the strengths of this book, though, is its breadth: it covers pretty much every political aspect of nuclear weapons.

The author has a military histor
Aug 27, 2013 Clint rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
The subject matter of this book is crazy, I learned all kinds of things. Like, never ever ever trust the Russians, France is sort of a warmonger disguised as a nation of wine-sipping sissies, and the USA kind of had as much to do with starting the Cuban missile crisis as the Russians, hard as that is to believe.

There were also lots of cool facts and stories on the technical side of nuclear weapons, and a lot of really eye-opening stuff on diplomacy and strategy involving nukes. For example, I c
Sep 26, 2012 Shana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Last night I finished skimming Stephen M. Younger’s The Bomb: A New History. Let me just say that this is the kind of book I pick up at the library thinking, “Ah yes, nuclear policy! One should educate oneself on such issues. Why yes, I think I shall read this!” A good attempt was made, but in the end I was only able to really skim it. It just didn’t capture me in the way I was hoping it will, but I will say that I enjoyed the last twenty or so pages when Younger goes over different positions on ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy reading book that gives the history, some technical facts, and dispels some misinformation about the atomic bomb. Gets into the detail of the policies that have existed and offers questions what the future policy should be. It up to date including information about Iran and North Korea and gives a summary of the capabilities of the countries that have , had , and those developing the bomb. Having been grammar school student who was taught how to hide under the desk in case of the nuclear at ...more
I learned more about nuclear weapons reading these 220 pages than I did as a member of the national security community for 25 years. Younger lucidly lays out the history of nuclear weapons, the technological issues involved in maintaining them and in verifying arms control agreements, and describes the rationale behind such strategies as MAD and counter-value plans. I checked this book out of my local library, but I just ordered a copy, it is worth having.
Apr 07, 2010 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
The book was handed to me by my college-aged son with the hope that it would help me sleep. It didn't. Having lived through much of the Cold War, it was refreshing to see all the events and accords of that era laid out--ICBMs, MIRVs, SALT etc. I learned a little bit more about the first two bombs and what made them different from each other. Mr. Younger also discusses some of the issues pertaining to keeping and improving atomic weapons.
Dec 10, 2008 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is what The Nuclear Express should have been: a concise treatise on the history and current state of affairs with a coherent recommendation for the future disposition of nuclear weapons. I generally disagree with Younger's "moderate" recommendation for the future state of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, but at least I felt his case was presented appropriately.
Travis Cherry
Oct 23, 2009 Travis Cherry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a great read if you are into the history of the atomic program and where it's all going from this point. I feel the author kept it simple and appealed less to the technical aspects of "the bomb" and instead placed the focus on where it should be, the history and politics that make it such a hot button issue.
Oct 25, 2012 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zizach Moss brought me here. Aaaand this book is super legit for cold war relations deliciousness between the US & our bff Russia.
Peter Sprunger
A quick overview of the bomb. Overall I would say it was accurate but there were a few places in the book where some more information would have been helpful to clarify.
A good concise summary of nuclear technology and policy. The final chapter of policy prescription is a bit of a departure though, and for me it disrupts the flow of the book.
Mar 08, 2012 Jani-Petri rated it did not like it
A bit boring and US centered. If you are after physics and technology you are better off reading wikipedia. Discussion on proliferation was useless.
Mar 16, 2010 Tiffany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book offered a very comprehensive overview of the history and future of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. It was very easy to read and has pictures!
Jessica Jones
Read about on
Uhu rated it it was amazing
Oct 31, 2013
Pat rated it really liked it
Feb 17, 2015
Griffin Wilson
Griffin Wilson rated it it was ok
Jul 12, 2014
Francesco rated it really liked it
Mar 07, 2011
Nick Stevenson
Nick Stevenson rated it really liked it
May 08, 2017
Rachel rated it really liked it
Mar 15, 2013
David La Mora
David La Mora rated it really liked it
May 26, 2010
Timothy A Cole
Timothy A Cole rated it it was ok
Oct 12, 2015
Dahak rated it it was ok
Jun 08, 2017
Trav rated it it was amazing
Nov 15, 2011
Samantha L.
Samantha L. rated it really liked it
Aug 19, 2012
James rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2015
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book