The Manhattan project The birth of the atomic bomb in the words of its creators, eyewitnesses, and historians

Cynthia C. Kelly

Book - 2007

A collection of writings--including essays, articles, and excerpts from biographies, plays, novels, letters, and oral histories--explores the history of the Manhattan Project and analyzes its legacy.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers : Distributed by Workman Pub c2007.
Language
English
Physical Description
xiv, 495 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. [476]-480) and index.
ISBN
9781579127473
1579127479
9781579128081
1579128084
Other Authors
Cynthia C. Kelly (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

"The atom bomb," writes composer John Adams, "is the ultimate American myth." The historical substance behind that myth comes into view in this anthology, combining the direct observations of the scientists, generals, and political leaders who made the bomb with the reflections of the historians, artists, and writers who have since struggled to understand its epoch-making implications. Dozens of selections—organized into nine thematic sections—allow readers to appreciate the genius of the Manhattan physicists, who surmounted daunting difficulties with astonishing speed. But these selections also illuminate the vexing questions still surrounding the American decision to drop the bomb on Japan. A truly tragic gap separates the accounts of joyous scientists celebrating their triumph when the first atom bomb exploded over New Mexico from the nightmarish descriptions of charred human bundles strewing the rubble of Hiroshima. Deeply sobering, the catalog of suffering inflicted by the nuclear strikes of 1945 lends urgency to the concluding selections from statesmen and philosophers exploring possible paths to disarmament. An essential resource for serious readers. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Kelly, editor of this important volume and president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation, has collected a wide range of entries and masterfully tied them together to form the story of the emergence of the first atomic bomb. Each entry is short--few are more than two or three pages long--and packed with interesting commentary relating to the scientific discoveries, political and military decisions, engineering feats, and human drama culminating with the bombs exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of WW II. The excerpts come from a wide array of sources, including scholarly works and general histories, oral history projects, personal memoirs, public documents, and even works of fiction. The authors represented range from historians such as Richard Rhodes and famous scientists like J. Robert Oppenheimer to dozens of lesser-known participants in and commentators on the historic undertaking. With the entries arranged in sections that are approximately chronological, this book conveys to the reader a feel for the general history of the Manhattan Project in one lively, eminently readable volume. Summing Up: Highly recommended. General readers; undergraduates. Copyright 2008 American Library Association.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

More than 60 years since WWII was ended by two atomic detonations, the Manhattan Project that made them possible still carries iconic weight, both as an incredible achievement of science and engineering and as the opening salvo in the nuclear arms race. This collection of essays, including excerpts from 45 books and almost twice as many articles, is more than worthy of its subject. The basic science behind the project is detailed in a number of lively accounts by scientists who worked on it; they also recount the lighter side of the experience, including the characters they worked alongside and the camaraderie among them. In-depth analysis of policy and ethical issues take on the justification for Truman's decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki (with fine examples from both sides of the argument) and the still urgent need for global arms control (as argued in a 2007 Wall Street Journal article by Henry Kissinger et al.). With a comprehensive reach (going as far back as 1934 to find a charming story on Oppenheimer, "The Absentminded Professor"), Kelly, president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation and an experienced editor (Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project ) does a masterful job covering all aspects of the world-changing enterprise and its legacy. (Sept.) [Page 36]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

More than 60 years since WWII was ended by two atomic detonations, the Manhattan Project that made them possible still carries iconic weight, both as an incredible achievement of science and engineering and as the opening salvo in the nuclear arms race. This collection of essays, including excerpts from 45 books and almost twice as many articles, is more than worthy of its subject. The basic science behind the project is detailed in a number of lively accounts by scientists who worked on it; they also recount the lighter side of the experience, including the characters they worked alongside and the camaraderie among them. In-depth analysis of policy and ethical issues take on the justification for Truman's decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki (with fine examples from both sides of the argument) and the still-urgent need for global arms control (as argued in a 2007 Wall Street Journal article by Henry Kissinger et al). With a comprehensive reach (going as far back as 1934 to find a charming story on Oppenheimer, "The Absentminded Professor"), Kelly, president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation and an experienced editor (Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project) does a masterful job covering all aspects of the world-changing enterprise and its legacy. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A collection of writings--including essays, articles, and excerpts from biographies, plays, novels, letters, and oral histories--explores the history of the Manhattan Project and analyzes its legacy.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

This anthology collects a variety of materials on the history of the Manhattan Project, the secret American program to develop the atomic bomb during World War II. Kelly (president, Atomic Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC) presents first hand accounts, oral histories, primary source documents, historical writings, and reflections by politicians that together shed light on the origins of the program, the science and personalities behind the bomb, the political decision-making that guided the bomb's development and the decision to use it, intelligence and counterintelligence matters, and reactions to the opening years of the atomic era. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The definitive collection of writings on the Manhattan Project by the pre-eminent scientists, historians, and the everyday observers who bore witness to the birth of the modern nuclear age.Begun in 1939, the Manhattan Project eventually employed more than 130,000 people, including our foremost scientists and thinkers, and cost nearly $2 billion, while operating under a shroud of absolute secrecy. This groundbreaking collection of documents, essays, articles, and excerpts from histories, biographies, plays, novels, letters, and the oral histories of key eyewitnesses provides unique perspectives for the historian and student of history all compiled by experts at the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Photographs throughout depict key moments and pivotal figures. The Manhattan Project gives actual voice to a significant period in history.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The definitive collection of writings on the Manhattan Project by the pre-eminent scientists, historians, and the everyday observers who bore witness to the birth of the modern nuclear age.Begun in 1939, the Manhattan Project eventually employed more than 130,000 people, including our foremost scientists and thinkers, and cost nearly $2 billion, while operating under a shroud of absolute secrecy. This groundbreaking collection of documents, essays, articles, and excerpts from histories, biographies, plays, novels, letters, and the oral histories of key eyewitnesses provides unique perspectives for the historian and student of history all compiled by experts at the Atomic Heritage Foundation. Photographs throughout depict key moments and pivotal figures. The Manhattan Project gives actual voice to a significant period in history.