AUTHORBaggott, Jim
TITLEThe First War of Physics: The Secret History of the Atom Bomb, 1939-1949
PUBLISHERPegasus Books
CITYNew York, NY
DATE PUBLISHED2010
ISBN978-1-60598-084-3


This book provides a single-volume history of the U.S.-British, German, and Soviet atomic bomb programs, from the discovery of fission to the 1949 detonation of Joe-1, the first Soviet nuclear weapon. The author, a popular British science writer, organizes the story into four major sections. The first deals with the global mobilization of nuclear physicists catalyzed by the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 and their early efforts in weapons design and reactor physics. Part two chronicles the early frustrations and progress of weapons programs in Germany, Britain, and the U.S., as well as the Soviet espionage effort to penetrate those programs. The third section covers the Alsos mission, the Trinity test, the use of the first bombs on Japan, and the reactions of captured German scientists upon hearing of the Allies' successful development of an atomic bomb. Part four addresses the origins of the Cold War, the Soviet weapons program, proliferation of weapons technology, and the successful Soviet test in 1949. An epilogue describes the U.S. and Soviet hydrogen bomb programs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the J. Robert Oppenheimer hearing of 1954. The book also contains a timeline and brief biographical sketches of key persons.


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