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About The Book


The Making of the Atomic Bomb is the seminal and complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan.

Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly - or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity, there was a span of hardly more than twenty-five years. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan Project, and then into the bomb, with frightening rapidity, while scientists known only to their peers - Szilard, Teller, Oppenheimer, Bohr, Meitner, Fermi, Lawrence and von Neumann - stepped from their ivory towers into the limelight.

Richard Rhodes gives the definitive story of man's most awesome discovery and invention. Told in rich human, political and scientific detail, The Making of the Atomic Bomb is a narrative tour de force and a document with literary power commensurate with its subject.

About The Author

Photograph by Nancy Warner

Richard Rhodes is the author of numerous books and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He graduated from Yale University and has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Appearing as host and correspondent for documentaries on public television’s Frontline and American Experience series, he has also been a visiting scholar at Harvard and MIT and is an affiliate of the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University. Visit his website

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (September 1, 2012)
  • Length: 896 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781471111235

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Raves and Reviews

'A stirring intellectual adventure...clear, fast-paced and indispensable'

– Carl Sagan

'A monumental and enthralling history... Alive and vibrant in the book are all the scientists...and each human being stands vividly revealed as a man of science, of conscience, of doubts, or of hubris'

– San Francisco Chronicle

'The comprehensive history of the bomb - and also a work of literature'

– Tracy Kidder

'The best, the richest and the deepest description of the development of physics in the first half of this century that I have yet read, and it is certainly the most enjoyable'

– Isaac Asimov

'A great book. Mr Rhodes has done a beautiful job, and I don't see how anyone can ever top it'

– Luis W. Alvarez, Nobel Laureate for Physics, 1968

'What I read already impressed me with the author's knowledge of much of the history of the science which led to the development of nuclear energy and nuclear bombs and of the personalities which contributed in the U.S. to the development of these. I was particularly impressed by his realization of the importance of Leo Szilard's contributions which are almost always underestimated but which he fully realizes and perhaps even overestimates. I hope the book will find a wide readership'

– Eugene P. Wigner, Nobel Laureate for Physics, 1963

'I found The Making of the Atomic Bomb well written, interesting and one of the best in the great family of books on the subject. It is fascinating as a novel, and I have learned from it many things I did not know. Mr Rhodes has done his homework conscientiously and intelligently'

– Emilio Segrè, Nobel Laureate for Physics, 1959

Awards and Honors

  • Pulitzer Prize
  • National Book Award Winner

Resources and Downloads

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