Laura Noggle's Reviews > The Making of the Atomic Bomb

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes
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it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019, history, nonfiction, pulitzer-prize-winners

A calamity of coincidences.

This book is heavy, laden with intricate detail and the minutiae that had to coalesce to create, and detonate the first atomic bombs.

It took me 3 months to read this weighty tome, the last chapter was especially nauseating.

It’s difficult to give a book like this on the mass murder of thousands of civilians a five star rating, but Rhodes did an impeccable job tying together all the threads that wove this dark tapestry in world history. From the men who discovered, and decided to build the atomic bomb—once set in motion the end was almost inescapable.

Could the Allies have won WWII without it? Were the justifications sound?

All we have is conjecture and opinion, the deed was done.

This book lays out the entire surrounding history in a dry, matter of fact way devoid of judgement.

Rhodes is an exceptional historian and the details are important lest we ever forget and repeat such atrocities.

~ Full RTC ~
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Quotes Laura Liked

Richard Rhodes
“Before it is science and career, before it is livelihood, before even it is family or love, freedom is sound sleep and safety to notice the play of morning sun.”
Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Richard Rhodes
“For the scientist, at exactly the moment of discovery—that most unstable existential moment—the external world, nature itself, deeply confirms his innermost fantastic convictions. Anchored abruptly in the world, Leviathan gasping on his hook, he is saved from extreme mental disorder by the most profound affirmation of the real.”
Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb


Reading Progress

February 14, 2018 – Shelved
February 14, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
January 10, 2019 – Started Reading
January 29, 2019 –
24.0% "Making me want to read more Kierkegaard and Kant."
February 14, 2019 –
48.0% "A weighty tome indeed."
February 28, 2019 –
62.0%
March 25, 2019 –
74.0% "Chugging along!"
April 5, 2019 –
92.0% "“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
(Bhagavad-Gita)

— Robert Oppenheimer as he witnessed the first detonation of a nuclear weapon on July 16, 1945."
April 6, 2019 – Finished Reading
April 7, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019
April 7, 2019 – Shelved as: history
April 7, 2019 – Shelved as: nonfiction
July 23, 2019 – Shelved as: pulitzer-prize-winners

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Peter Mcloughlin I got caught up in the physics of the thing. i sometimes lose sight of the fact that this is a device which could very well do us all in.


Laura Noggle Peter wrote: "I got caught up in the physics of the thing. i sometimes lose sight of the fact that this is a device which could very well do us all in."

Me too, the physics and the all star cast: Robert Oppenheimer, Niels Bohr, Enrico Fermi—what a convergence of minds!

Rhodes presented the information in such a scholarly way, it wasn't until the quotes from the survivors at the very end that the emotional reality really hit home.


message 3: by Evan (new) - added it

Evan Time to move onto to other similarly lighthearted fare such as John Hersey's "Hiroshima," and the Japanese novel, "Black Rain." I have actually read those, but not the Rhodes yet. Lucky you for getting this one nailed. I'm too busy writing my own book right now, a sprawling-ass novel that today stands at 100,000+ words. I'm in the fun stage right now. It was an old manuscript that has arisen afresh with new ideas. Best.


Laura Noggle Evan wrote: "Time to move onto to other similarly lighthearted fare such as John Hersey's "Hiroshima," and the Japanese novel, "Black Rain." I have actually read those, but not the Rhodes yet. Lucky you for get..."

Hersey's was on my list, will add "Black Rain" too—but after a nice long break. Congratulations on the word count! That's an accomplishment, lately I've been feeling guilty, knowing I'm putting off my own writing with reading instead. You're an inspiration!


message 5: by Evan (new) - added it

Evan There's actually the older more common version of Hiroshima that has the original story from 1945 but then in the 1980s they issued an edition that included new material where Hersey revisited the survivors 40 years later and I thought that addendum really opened up the story and made the book a lot better. Try to find that one if you can.

I've broken through some obstacles on this manuscript. I've found new takes and substantial refashionings of some parallel plot points that I disliked or thought weak. So this has really helped propel me. A lot of reading will make you all the better when you do get back to writing. That was one of the points Stephen King made on his "On Writing" book and I agree with it strongly.

Laura wrote: "Evan wrote: "Time to move onto to other similarly lighthearted fare such as John Hersey's "Hiroshima," and the Japanese novel, "Black Rain." I have actually read those, but not the Rhodes yet. Luck..."


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