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The Ultimate Weapon: The Race to Develop the…

The Ultimate Weapon: The Race to Develop the Atomic Bomb

by Edward T. Sullivan

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Well, this book is great. It's an extremely succinct and accurate account of the development of the atomic bomb. I've gotta say, this book was easy to grade on its accuracy. Most of the details of the book were from the Library of Congress or interviews from the people that played a major role in the project. I enjoyed this book a lot. There were so many details that I didn't take into account when I thought of the Manhattan Project. I forgot to take into account the human element that was involved in such an incredible undertaking. Seriously, image how much it would cost the U.S. to construct a town with everything modern life demands for over 75,000 citizens. Oh, also, you need to do this 3 times and also develop multiple methods of destroying civilization.
This book is accurate and awesome. It examines the major military, civilian, and foreign individuals that shaped the reality that necessitated the development of the BOMB! I was most impressed with the person that was put in charge of the project in the military. He was the "right man for the job". The book says this about 4 people and after reading the book, I think they were right. I would recommend this book to students in High School. It's not a difficult book to read, but it is difficult to understand why some of the decisions were made. This was a great book the take home on a, " Valentine's Date". The book contained a lot of information that I was unaware. The scale of this project is something every person in the world should know about. We really wanted and needed to make the bomb first.
Seriously, great book. Fantastic pictures and slices of life that really cement the importance of atomic race. Americans were willing to give up their homes without question if they thought it would win the war. The book is an easy read and the important people are introduced and explained where the author deemed relevant. My favorite part of the book was in the end when you see the opinions of the people that develop the device. They saw the need to make the most destructive thing ever created but they wished that the government would've put more thought into what using the bomb would unleash. Most scientists that were instrumental in the creation of the bomb wouldn't have made it knowing how it would be used. But, most would still see the value in the knowledge gained. I love history books and I can't recommend this one enough. ( )
  S.Johnson | Feb 13, 2017 |
  CardiganBooklover | Mar 1, 2012 |
Detailed and clear information about the Manhattan Project and the atomic bomb. ( )
  lilibrarian | Jan 14, 2011 |
Richie's Picks: THE ULTIMATE WEAPON: THE RACE TO DEVELOP THE ATOMIC BOMB by Edward T. Sullivan, Holiday House, June 2007, ISBN: 08234-1855-3

"We love to laugh and play and run
And we would never start a war
We're all afraid of bombs and guns
We know that one fight leads to more.
Our country says we must be ready
For a fight, no matter where
Even though that might be right,
It makes the other countries scared"

--Peter Alsop, "Kid's Peace Song"

"By 2006, six nuclear weapons had been lost and never recovered."

I'm frightened. In fact, a piece of me has been frightened ever since my childhood days when I followed my teachers' instructions by watching and reading the daily news and then employed scissors and glue to complete those weekly current events assignments.

Sadly, the more I've learned over the years, the more frightened I've become.

"Using the atomic bomb against Japan unleashed a Pandora's box of consequences that haunt the world to this day. When the Soviet Union announced in 1949 that they, too, had the atomic bomb, it sparked a nuclear arms race that lasted over three decades. It consumed billions of dollars, instilled in Americans and Russians a constant fear of mutual nuclear annihilation, and in 1962 brought the Soviet Union and the United States to the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis. At the peak of the nuclear arms race, the Soviet Union and the United States combined had enough weapons to destroy the Earth hundreds of times over.

"When the Soviet Union collapsed and fragmented in the late 1980s, it appeared that the menacing cloud of global nuclear destruction that had hung over the world for so long had finally lifted. The reality is that nuclear war is more of a probability now than it ever was. India and Pakistan, who have been fighting for decades over a disputed region called Kashmir, both possess a nuclear arsenal and have threatened to use them against each other if violence between the two countries escalates to full-scale war.

"Nations formerly part of the Soviet Union still possess nuclear weapons from the cold war era. Some of those countries are so ravaged by corruption and poverty that there is the very reasonable fear that they could sell the weapons to terrorist organizations or nations hostile to the United States. North Korea, a nation ruled by a ruthless and unpredictably dangerous dictator, has claimed to have detonated a nuclear weapon. Iran, a nation that has a long history of hostility toward Israel, the United States, and other countries, is believed to be in the process of developing nuclear weapons. The five acknowledged nuclear powers -- the United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom -- together possess thirty-one thousand nuclear weapons. Israel, surrounded by hostile nations in the Middle East, also possesses a nuclear arsenal. The threat of nuclear war is still a very real, frightening possibility."

What happened during World War II, back when my own parents were teenagers, to put the United States in the forefront of what is still an out-of-control nuclear arms race? Why did the U.S. develop The Bomb? What was the rationale for dropping the pair of nuclear bombs that annihilated Japanese cities full of everyday people, despite the already-completed victory over Nazi Germany and the fact that Japan was clearly on the brink of defeat? What were Albert Einstein's regrets about his role in this awful business?

These are some of the multitude of questions that are answered in Edward Sullivan's THE ULTIMATE WEAPON: THE RACE TO DEVELOP THE ATOMIC BOMB. Some of the information that I've learned about the Manhattan Project -- the process of building the bombs that were used to vaporize the citizens and infrastructure of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- includes a clear, basic explanation of how the bombs actually "worked," what work was being performed in the Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Hanford, Washington facilities that supported the Project, how the work at Oak Ridge (producing uranium-235) was responsible at the time for consuming one-seventh of the total electrical output of the United States, and how -- even while desperately marshalling all possible national resources to meet the very real threat of Hitler taking over the world -- the armed forces of the United States still had to make sure that African Americans working and living at the Oak Ridge facility were "kept in their place" through discriminatory and inhumane employment and housing practices.
It's time to try a diff'rent way
Where fighting isn't in the plan
We can be strong without our bombs
It's time that all the bombs were banned
Kids like us live everywhere
Around the world, in every land
The words we speak are not the same
But Peace on Earth we understand."

I am very appreciative for Sullivan's having devoted significant space and research to chronicling the debate -- beforehand and afterward -- concerning the U.S.' decision to use the bombs on Japan. This has always been of interest to me, especially having grown up during the Vietnam War working on construction jobs alongside a bunch of oft-outspoken WWII vets.

"This is the world we live in, and these are the hands we're given." -- Genesis

One thing that has not changed since 1945 is that the President of the United States -- whomever he or she is -- wields the power to order the use of another nuclear weapon somewhere in the world at any given moment. Many of us got a kick out of the 1986 music video that was created for the Genesis song "Land of Confusion," in which a befuddled Ronald Reagan pushes the button marked "Nuke" instead of the one marked "Nurse." But the message is an all-too-serious one as we become immersed in the 2008 presidential campaign season. On which fallible human being will we next bestow such enormous power?

With schools opening back up this week and next, I've got a suitcase chock full of great, new 2007 titles all set for my fall booktalks. But I am sure hard-pressed to name a book in the suitcase whose contents are more consequential to tomorrow's voters and problem solvers than this well-researched, profound look at how the whole nuclear business began, where it has currently brought us to in the 21st Century, and what it is that I have to be frightened of.

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/
http://www.myspace.com/richiespicks ( )
  richiespicks | May 27, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0823418553, Hardcover)

When the first atomic bomb, nicknamed "Little Boy," was dropped from the Enola Gay onto Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945, the world changed forever. But the story started long before then, and here Edward T. Sullivan delves into all the advances that led to the making of the most destructive weapons ever invented: the scientific developments of the Manhattan Project, the massive commitment by the Western world to win the great nuclear arms race, and the contributions to the war effort big or small by all those involved. From bus driver to scientist to spy to the president, Sullivan examines all the key personalities concerned, including Albert Einstein, J. Robert Oppenheimer, President Roosevelt, and many more. The dropping of the bomb, as well as the complicated aftermath is also discussed. In this comprehensive book, featuring several arresting black-and-white photographs of the day, Sullivan offers a broad and compelling look at the atomic bomb and its pronounced effects on our world today.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:33 -0400)

When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, the world changed forever. But the story started long before that fateful day, and here Edward T. Sullivan delves into all that led up to it: the scientific developments of the Manhattan Project, the Nazi nuclear arms program, and the massive commitment by the United States to win the nuclear arms race.… (more)

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