The Making of the Atomic Bomb

by Richard Rhodes

Posted Jul 1, 2021

I could not put this down, I absolutely loved it. It does not celebrate the bomb itself but it does celebrate the process. And the process was fascinating.

Rhodes does a wonderful job of explaining the science that made the bomb possible, the step by step exploration of the atom from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th. It would be worth it just for that.

The leadership examples and the risk taking of so many people involved would also make the book worthwhile.

But the story is also fantastic. The ways genius manifested and the ways so many of the smartest people of their generation worked together on an enormous project. The fears of those people and the ways they kept such a big secret. The fact that they had one test of one of the two bomb designs before Hiroshima and that the Hiroshima bomb was already on its way across the Pacific before the test was completed. And that the Nagasaki bomb was a very different design, untested.

All fascinating. Some very funny parts. Lots of deep thinking about science and morality.

I highlighted 119 sections if you want to skim. You should put this next on your list, though. One of my all time favorites.