Atomic: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb 1939 -1949: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb: 1939-49

Atomic: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb 1939 -1949: The First War of Physics and the Secret History of the Atom Bomb: 1939-49

by JimBaggott (Author)

Synopsis

Rich in personality, action, confrontation and deception, "Atomic" is the first fully realised popular account of the race to build humankind's most destructive weapon. The book draws on declassified material, such as MI6's FarmHall transcripts, coded Soviet messages cracked by American cryptographers in the Venona project, and interpretations by Russian scholars of documents from the Soviet archives. Jim Baggott weaves these threads into a monumental book that spans ten historic years, from the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939 to the aftermath of 'Joe-1', August 1949's first Soviet atomic bomb test.Why did physicists persist in developing the atomic bomb, despite the devastation that it could bring? Why, despite having a clear head start, did Hitler's physicists fail? Could the Soviets have developed the bomb without spies like Klaus Fuchs or Donald Maclean? Did the Allies really plot to assassinate a key member of the German bomb programme? Did the physicists knowingly inspire the arms race? "Atomic" is an epic story of science and technology at the very limits of human understanding; a tale barely believable as fiction, which just happens to be historical fact.

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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 480
Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
Published: 05 Nov 2009

ISBN 10: 184831082X
ISBN 13: 9781848310827

Media Reviews
`I [have] read everything on the subject that I could lay my hands on, but I never read such a good, comprehensive account as Jim Baggott's... Highly recommended.' -- Reader's Digest
'High drama... fascinating reading.' -- BBC Focus Magazine
`Grimly compelling. Thorough and accessible.' -- Daily Telegraph
`The best popular science book of the year to date by far.' -- Popular Science
`Baggott's investigation is an accessible account of the race to build the world's first atomic weapons. Compelling.' -- Good Book Guide
`Atomic is the tale of the creation of the Atomic bomb during wartime, and the political fallout from the realization of these powerful weapons... Most importantly Atomic is about the people and personalities behind the bomb... It's a disturbing book - simply because it's a very disturbing story.' -- Book Geeks
`Comprehensive and clear-flowing book by Jim Baggott... the real nub of this thriller of a book: the human brain is the thing that fills you wit fearful awe.' -- Diplomat Magazine
`This is an excellent example of popular science, explaining a series of difficult concepts clearly and coherently, but without sacrificing accuracy. When combined with the personal stories of the scientists the result is an excellent study of the development of the first atomic bomb.' -- History of War
`Jim Baggott's clear, elegant prose never falters, whether unveiling the scientists and spies who raced to unlock the secrets of the atom bomb, or describing the sub-atomic particle which drove the physicists on to what J Robert Oppenheimer later called 'sin'.' -- Telegraph
Author Bio
Jim Baggott is an award-winning science writer. A former academic chemist,he runs an independent management consultancy practice but maintains a broad interest in science, philosophy and history and continues to write on these subjects in his spare time, for, amongother publications, New Scientist magazine. His previous bookshave been widely acclaimed and include A Beginner's Guide to Reality (Penguin, 2005) and Beyond Measure: Modern Physics,Philosophy and the Meaning of Quantum Theory (OUP, 2004).