The Making of the Atomic Bomb - Richard Rhodes

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

By Richard Rhodes

  • Release Date: 2012-09-18
  • Genre: Military
Score: 4.5
From 186 Ratings


**Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award**

The definitive history of nuclear weapons—from the turn-of-the-century discovery of nuclear energy to J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project—this epic work details the science, the people, and the sociopolitical realities that led to the development of the atomic bomb.

This sweeping account begins in the 19th century, with the discovery of nuclear fission, and continues to World War Two and the Americans’ race to beat Hitler’s Nazis. That competition launched the Manhattan Project and the nearly overnight construction of a vast military-industrial complex that culminated in the fateful dropping of the first bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Reading like a character-driven suspense novel, the book introduces the players in this saga of physics, politics, and human psychology—from FDR and Einstein to the visionary scientists who pioneered quantum theory and the application of thermonuclear fission, including Planck, Szilard, Bohr, Oppenheimer, Fermi, Teller, Meitner, von Neumann, and Lawrence.

From nuclear power’s earliest foreshadowing in the work of H.G. Wells to the bright glare of Trinity at Alamogordo and the arms race of the Cold War, this dread invention forever changed the course of human history, and The Making of The Atomic Bomb provides a panoramic backdrop for that story.

Richard Rhodes’s ability to craft compelling biographical portraits is matched only by his rigorous scholarship. Told in rich human, political, and scientific detail that any reader can follow, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a thought-provoking and masterful work.


  • Extraordinary scholarship, research, and writing

    By 747whaledriver
    If you are a techno-geek; or, a physics or history student, you will find no finer book about the effort that and people who built the atomic bomb. I’ve worn out the first hardback copy of the book I purchased and the second is filled with hand-written notes. I highly recommend this.
  • Outstanding scholarship, wit, and insights into history of Manhattan Project and physics.

    By Emma Libster
    Rhodes seminal publication provides an in-depth look into history and scale of US Manhattan Project and principal characters. Wonderful background Into genesis of World War II atomic bomb project and giants like Einstein, Oppenheimer, Bohr, Bethe, Szilard, Teller, Fermi, Ulam, Von Neumann, etc., Great background information on personal lives and motivations of scientists, politicians, and military leaders of the time. I really liked photographs and descriptions of educational, military, and scientific installations, and the enormous effort to win the race to develop atomic bomb. This book is written for the layman, historian, and scientist. Pulitzer Prize Winner - Highly Recommended!