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The Curve of Binding Energy

by John McPhee

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411948,810 (4.14)16
Theodore Taylor was one of the most brilliant engineers of the nuclear age, but in his later years he became concerned with the possibility of an individual being able to construct a weapon of mass destruction on their own. McPhee tours American nuclear institutions with Taylor and shows us how close we are to terrorist attacks employing homemade nuclear weaponry.… (more)
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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Nuclear terrorism is the dog that didn't bark. Despite warning of how easy it would be for terrorists to make or steal a nuclear weapon, we've never seen a Sum of All Fears-style attack anywhere. The fact that the central worry of a book has never been realized would ordinarily make it a relic, but McPhee's glorious prose and deep journalistic skill make this study of noted physicist Ted Taylor a worthwhile read. I wonder what a post-9/11 attempt to rewrite this book would look like. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
Book is from the early 1970's. References a couple of times about how a small nuclear bomb could take down the World Trade Center. Creepy - since they are no longer there.

The volume of plutonium that is around is astounding - and this was in the 70's. Cant imagine what is out there now. The fact that there has been no big accident or attack is amazing. Author wove a good story. Couldnt figure out how a suppossed undereducated Taylor got to be in his position. besides being really smart. ( )
  bermandog | Aug 25, 2017 |
Fascinating. ( )
  gregorybrown | Oct 18, 2015 |
A fascinating and ultimately chilling book about nuclear energy and possible dangers (including scenarios that have nothing to do with terrorists obtaining a nuclear device). The most chilling observation? "As far as we know, everyone who has attempted to build a nuclear device has succeeded on the first try." ( )
  BruceCoulson | Jan 10, 2014 |
Dated, but still very frightening book. ( )
  lpg3d | Jun 22, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Theodore Taylor was one of the most brilliant engineers of the nuclear age, but in his later years he became concerned with the possibility of an individual being able to construct a weapon of mass destruction on their own. McPhee tours American nuclear institutions with Taylor and shows us how close we are to terrorist attacks employing homemade nuclear weaponry.

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