AUTHORClark, Ronald W.
TITLEThe Greatest Power on Earth
PUBLISHERHarper and Row
CITYNew York, NY

This thoroughly documented and researched book recounts the international race to build atomic weapons. Clark, an Englishman, tells the story mainly in bureaucratic terms, tracing government acts and projects more than the physics of the atomic bomb. Clark shows that the American program succeeded mainly because it housed more international scientists than other programs, and because the United Kingdom lacked wartime resources. He emphasizes the importance of the Frisch-Peierls memorandum and the MAUD report, both of which were written in the United Kingdom, and became major catalysts of the Manhattan Project. Finally, Clark documents the Anglo-French effort to develop atomic weapons and technology independent of the U.S. Unique to Clark’s account is a heightened sense of how interrelated the countries’ projects were, especially in terms of uranium mining. The book elevates the figure of Niels Bohr, primarily for the physicist’s foresight into the apocalyptic nature of atomic weapons. It is mainly a clean and academic retelling of the development of atomic weapons from an English perspective.

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