The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Rlchard Rhodes. Simon and Shuster, New York, 1986. 788 pp. $22.95.

This book is much more than a history of the atomic bomb. It is the story of the scientists who discovered that atoms consisted of nuclei and electrons, that atomic phenomena are quantized, and eventually that energy could be derived by splitting the heaviest nuclei. The author presents the scientists as real people with curiosity, imagination and fears in the turbulent years from the turn of the century to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Almost half of the book is the story of atomic and nuclear research from the work of the Curies to the discovery of fission by Hahn and Strassman, through the first world war, the rise of Hitler and the start of World War The rest is the story of the unsuccessful German effort to construct a...

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