Customer Reviews


105 Reviews
5 star:
 (91)
4 star:
 (9)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vade mecum to the modern age
For me, the most dramatic - and scariest - part of the whole book is probably on p. 275: "Enrico Fermi...was standing at his panoramic office window high in the physics tower [of Columbia University] looking down the gray winter length of Manhattan Island, its streets alive as always with vendors and taxis and crowds. He cupped his hands as if he were holding a...
Published on June 1 2004 by Bibliophile

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bomb
I had to read The Making of the Atomic Bomb for class. It is the longest book I have ever had to read. Excessive length is definitely a turn-off. Not only is Rhode's book too long, but the things that make it sooooo long could totally be deleted and no one would miss them. How is the crabgrass in Mrs. Fermi's front lawn in Leonia, New Jersey of any relevance to the atomic...
Published on Jan. 6 2001 by Katie


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vade mecum to the modern age, June 1 2004
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
For me, the most dramatic - and scariest - part of the whole book is probably on p. 275: "Enrico Fermi...was standing at his panoramic office window high in the physics tower [of Columbia University] looking down the gray winter length of Manhattan Island, its streets alive as always with vendors and taxis and crowds. He cupped his hands as if he were holding a ball. 'A little bomb like that,' he said simply, for once not lightly mocking, 'and it would all disappear.'"
This was one day in the winter of 1938/1939, probably in Jan or Feb of 1939. Fermi was of course referring to the atomic warhead yet to be invented. Fermi's estimates of the size of the fissile material required to produce such a devastating effect remain as true today in this post-911 age as then.
I entirely agree with Rhodes that the key personality in the whole saga was not Einstein or Oppenheimer or even Fermi but Niels Bohr, who was the godfather to modern nuclear physics, who was the guiding spirit if not a working technician at Los Alamos, and whose complementarity principle, originally devised to explain quantum mechanics, became applicable to the dilemma of the bomb itself. Rhodes's emphasis on Bohr's complementarity both surprises and impresses me.
If I'm allowed one criticism, it would be that a timeline of the major developments is missing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of Thoroughness, April 19 2004
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
This book is so good that words fall short. Suffice it to say that this is one of the most well-researched, thorough, well-written, insightful and wise histories of a phenomenon ever produced. It is an epic story with tragic overtones, populated with a cast of characters as diverse and rich as a Russian novel. It is the WHOLE story of the development of the atomic bomb -- historical, scientific, political. The lengthy description of the physical processes instigated by the explosion of the first A-bomb in history in New Mexico is like a brilliant prose poem. The chapter called "Tongues of Fire," which concerns the fate of the Japanese upon whom the bombs were dropped, is one of the most nightmarish and horrifying things I've ever read, and I literally had to fend off tears. If you're interested in the subject, you simply must read this book.
I only have one tiny, tiny criticism to offer, which is almost not worth mentioning, though I'll mention it anyway. Though Rhodes' assessment of Robert Oppenheimer's character and qualifications is exemplary, the book left me slightly unclear over exactly why he was chosen to head the Manhattan Project. In other words, I would have liked more material about the decision-making processes that went on behind the scenes which ultimately lead to his appointment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mostly Worthwhile, June 10 2004
By 
H. Scott Gingrich (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
The author covers the science and history of the atomic bomb very well. It is worth your time to read.
The book would have earned five stars if the author had not injected as much of his naive and politically correct view of the world as he does. Specifically, he spends a good deal of the last chapter and parts of earlier chapters indulging a woolly-headed belief that somehow the Stalin would have allowed the Soviet Union to become an open society in order to avoid the perils of a nuclear arms race, if only the U.S. and Britain had just done things differently. Also, while he does not entirely ignore the excellent reasons for dropping the atomic bombs, he devotes a great deal of space to those who, in ignorance of the the military realities of the war with Japan or because they could not bring themselves to make a hard decision which would save millions of Japanese and Allied lives, whined and railed against the use of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
There are a few other subjects on which the author's "Late 20th Century Politically Correct" viewpoint comes through, but for the most part these were merely minor annoyances. Overall, and especially if you skip the last part of the last chapter, the book is excellent.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bomb, Jan. 6 2001
By 
Katie (Trinity College, Hartford, CT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
I had to read The Making of the Atomic Bomb for class. It is the longest book I have ever had to read. Excessive length is definitely a turn-off. Not only is Rhode's book too long, but the things that make it sooooo long could totally be deleted and no one would miss them. How is the crabgrass in Mrs. Fermi's front lawn in Leonia, New Jersey of any relevance to the atomic bomb? Same goes for the problem with Robert Oppenheimer's mom's right hand and the French doors at the UC Berkeley lab. Don't get me wrong, though, I got into the book; some parts definitely grabbed my attention, but there was so much superfluous stuff to get through in the meantime. Rhodes should have edited the book down to maybe 350 pages max. It would have been really good then -- compelling,attention-grabbing,and concise. This might be a good book to read if 1)it is mandatory, 2) you are retired or just have a lot of time for sitting around, or 3) you are a friend of Rhodes and he will be offended if you don't.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lengthy and Tedious -- A real disappointment, Oct. 8 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
I bought this book with great excitement, and during vacation was torn whether to start this book or another since it seemed so promising. Thankfully for my vacation, I chose another book to read first! I will admitt that I have not finished this book, but that is the point -- I am not sure I ever will. What held so much promise as an in-depth story of one of the greatest scientific and military projects ever immediately dies within the first 100 pages with the seemingly ENDLESS and tedious life stories of the scientists involved. While the characters invloved is certainly of interest and relevance, I can't help but wonder what several hundred pages of endless detail into their lives, education, and even appearnace has to do with this story. I feel as if the author spent a great deal of time researching these people and could not help himself from putting it all in, even though this was superfluous to the real story.
Let this be a warning to the prospective buyer -- you may have to skip the first hundred pages to get to any good stuff, which in my mind makes this a sub-par book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Trim the chaff, Sept. 22 2003
By 
D. Burnett "solo diver" (Hollywood, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
As with many of today's novels this historical account spends far too much time on trivialities. The real meat of the account, the chemistry and physics, the discoveries and engineering, is buried in a never-ending snow of needless unrelated detail that challenges the reader to discern and string along with the previous piece, perhaps a dozen pages before. Don't get me wrong, the history is all there but scanning through the filler for it is no joy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit too much, April 26 2000
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
I love history, math and science, and have a technical advanced degree, but still managed to have a tough time getting through this book. In an attempt to impress us, I get the idea that Rhodes sat down and included every microscopic fact that he could come up. Richard, a bit of advise...sometimes less is more. I really don't care, for example, that Szilard didn't like the bed that was offered him in Bohr's guestroom. Rhodes also wrote in much too much detail about every little physics experiment that ever went in to the eventual development of the bomb. Again, I like science and can handle technical issues, but his discriptions just went on ad nauseum.
I do give this three stars because the topic is surely important. I am very interested in WWII history as well. However, I must confess that this was a bit of a letdown.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, Sept. 24 2008
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
This is an excellent book. I have read and re read this book several times.I have read several books on the actual dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima and was quite interested in how it was made. I would highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, June 27 2005
By 
Mike Peel (Burnaby, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
A fascinating story that must have taken years (5?) to write.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it, June 19 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Making of the Atomic Bomb (Paperback)
Read "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" and get two excellent books for the price of one. An eminently readable scientific journal and as good a time capsule of the mood of World War II as you'll find anywhere.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 211 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xa9e93888)

This product

The Making of the Atomic Bomb
The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes (Paperback - 1995)
Used & New from: CDN$ 4.07
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews