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The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the…
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The Atomic Times: My H-Bomb Year at the Pacific Proving Ground

by Michael Harris

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When I began reading this book I thought it was going to just another amusing tale of GI life in the 50s. And there is plenty of humor and things to chuckle about, but the longer Harris and his cronies are stationed on the atoll the they call "the Rock," the more serious things become. "The Atomic Times" seems at times a well-wrought mixture of "Lord of the Flies" and "Catch-22." Young men isolated without women is always a bad idea, and I think many GIs throughout the Cold War years knew their own versions of "the Rock." I was stationed at TWO places both known as "the Rock" back in the early 60s: Sinop, Turkey; and Rothwesten, Germany. Even then, it was still an army without women, which can unleash some strange happenings after a while. "The Atomic Times" adds H-bomb tests, radiation exposure and toxic fallout to the mix, which bakes a much darker brownie than usual. One can't help but wonder if the real reason all those GIs were stationed on Eniwetok wasn't simply to provide human guinea pigs to study the effects of fallout and exposure to the blasts. Why the hell didn't those in authority keep the men INside during the tests? Why march them out onto the beach each time? Harris talks of some of the men who were indeed made deathly ill - and even one who died - from the blasts. Add Harris's unhappy and abusive childhood to the mix and this becomes at times a very UNfunny story. But he tells his story with heart and uncommon skill. This guy can write, and his book is well worth your time! - Tim Bazzett, author of "Soldier Boy: At Play in the ASA" ( )
  TimBazzett | May 23, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345481542, Hardcover)

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The biggest and baddest of America’s atmospheric nuclear weapons test series, Redwing mixed saber rattling with mad science, while overlooking its cataclysmic human, geopolitical and ecological effects.  But mostly, Redwing just messed with guys’ heads.


“A gripping memoir...Leavened by humor, loyalty and pride of accomplishment, this book is a tribute to the resilience, courage and patriotism of the American soldier.”
 — Henry Kissinger


“One of the best books I've ever read!  Destined to become a classic.”
— John G. Stoessinger, Ph.D., winner of the Bancroft Prize for International Affairs, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, former Acting Director for the Political Affairs Division at the U.N.

“Shockingly honest...Deeply personal and politically profound.”
— Sen. Charles Schumer

“Hard to put down...Touching, horrifying and uproariously funny.”

— Dr. Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Politics, Columbia University

“Brilliantly conceived, elegantly rendered and persuasively authentic.”
— Robert B. Parker, author of the Spenser and Jesse Stone series

“An entertaining read in the bloodline of Catch-22, Harris achieves the oddest of victories:  a funny, optimistic story about the H-bomb.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Absurd and terrifying....Bored, frightened, angry, and sexually frustrated, the men turn cruel, violent and suicidal.  Harris' frank and disturbing descriptions of the criminally irresponsible proceedings on Eniwetok and the physical and mental pain he and others endured constitute shocking additions to atomic history.”
— Booklist

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:29:42 -0400)

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