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Most Americans believe that the Second World War ended because the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan forced it to surrender. Five Days in August boldly presents a different interpretation: that the military did not clearly understand the atomic bomb’s revolutionary strategic potential, that the Allies were almost as stunned by the surrender as the Japanese were by the attack, and that not only had experts planned and fully anticipated the need for a third bomb, they were skeptical about whether the atomic bomb would work at all. With these ideas, Michael Gordin reorients the historical and contemporary conversation about the A-bomb and World War II. Five Days in August explores these and countless other legacies of the atomic bomb in a glaring new light. Daring and iconoclastic, it will result in far-reaching discussions about the significance of the A-bomb, about World War II, and about the moral issues they have spawned.
Most Americans believe that the Second World War ended because the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan forced it to surrender. Five Days in August boldly presents a different interpretation: that the military did not clearly understand the atomic bomb’s revolutionary strategic potential, that the Allies were almost as stunned by the surrender as the Japanese were by the attack, and that not only had experts planned and fully anticipated the need for a third bomb, they were skeptical about whether the atomic bomb would work at all. With these ideas, Michael Gordin reorients the historical and contemporary conversation about the A-bomb and World War II. Five Days in August explores these and countless other legacies of the atomic bomb in a glaring new light. Daring and iconoclastic, it will result in far-reaching discussions about the significance of the A-bomb, about World War II, and about the moral issues they have spawned.
On August 29, 1949, the first Soviet test bomb, dubbed First Lightning, exploded in the deserts of Kazakhstan. The startling event was not simply a technical experiment that confirmed the ability of the Soviet Union to build nuclear bombs during a period when the United States held a steadfast monopoly; it was also an international event that marked the beginning of an arms race that would ultimately lead to nuclear proliferation beyond the two superpowers. Following a trail of espionage, secrecy, deception, political brinksmanship, and technical innovation, Michael D. Gordin challenges conventional technology-centered nuclear histories by looking at the prominent roles that atomic intelligence and other forms of information play in the uncertainties of nuclear arms development and political decision-making. With the use of newly opened archives, Red Cloud at Dawn focuses on the extraordinary story of First Lightning to provide a fresh understanding of the origins of the nuclear arms race, as well as the all-too-urgent problem of proliferation.
"The feeling a physicist has in reading Einstein's handwritten manuscript on general relativity must be like what a pianist would feel upon seeing a draft of Bach's "Goldberg Variations." What kind of human creativity can produce something like this? Gutfreund and Renn provide the context for the paper, and the English translation enables readers not fluent in German to see it as a whole. This book is a little treasure."--Jeremy Bernstein, Aspen Center for Physics "We have in "The Road to Relativity" an approachable, precise, and riveting account of one of the great intellectual voyages of the last hundred and fifty years. I commend this book to anyone fascinated by gravity and the shape of the universe, to be sure, but also to anyone passionate about one of the great odysseys of modern science."--Peter Galison, Harvard University "Gutfreund and Renn have compiled a wonderful book, a real primer to Einstein's long and complex journey to the general theory of relativity. In this well written distillation of several decades of historical-scientific scholarship, we find not only Einstein's own papers, concisely and clearly explained, but also a rich tapestry of the contextual background to the revolutionary transformations in theoretical physics initiated by an entire generation of scientists in the early twentieth century."--Diana Kormos Buchwald, Einstein Papers Project, Caltech "This book takes you on a wonderful journey of discovery. Its centerpiece is Einstein s handwritten exposition of the general theory of relativity, written shortly after the decisive breakthrough of November 1915. In their splendid introduction and insightful commentary, Gutfreund and Renn tell the story of how Einstein found his new theory of space-time and gravity, making both the theory itself and Einstein s arduous path to it come alive for general readers."--Michel Janssen, University of Minnesota "This is a lovely book and an excellent way to mark the centennial of Einstein s general relativity. The facsimile reproduction of Einstein s manuscript is wonderful to behold, and Gutfreund and Renn have done a superb job of guiding nonspecialists through Einstein s argument and placing the work in a broader intellectual and historical context."--David Kaiser, author of "How the Hippies Saved Physics: Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival" "The centenary of Einstein s theory of gravitation is a fitting moment to recommend one of the greatest landmarks in the history of physics. The historical introduction and page-by-page annotations provide a careful narrative of Einstein s path from special to general relativity."--Michael D. Gordin, author of "Five Days in August: How World War II Became a Nuclear War""
A cultural history of the development of physics in the 19th century.
Looks at the decision-making process and struggle of Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson as he oversaw the American nuclear weapons program during World War II and his responsibility for using the atomic bomb against Japan.
WINNER of the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize FINALIST for the Ridenhour Book Prize • Chautauqua Prize • William Saroyan International Prize for Writing • PEN Center USA Literary Award NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Economist • The Washington Post • American Library Association • Kirkus Reviews “A poignant and complex picture of the second atomic bomb’s enduring physical and psychological tolls. Eyewitness accounts are visceral and haunting. . . . But the book’s biggest achievement is its treatment of the aftershocks in the decades since 1945.” —The New Yorker A powerful and unflinching account of the enduring impact of nuclear war, told through the stories of those who survived. On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, a small port city on Japan’s southernmost island. An estimated 74,000 people died within the first five months, and another 75,000 were injured. Published on the seventieth anniversary of the bombing, Nagasaki takes readers from the morning of the bombing to the city today, telling the first-hand experiences of five survivors, all of whom were teenagers at the time of the devastation. Susan Southard has spent years interviewing hibakusha (“bomb-affected people”) and researching the physical, emotional, and social challenges of post-atomic life. She weaves together dramatic eyewitness accounts with searing analysis of the policies of censorship and denial that colored much of what was reported about the bombing both in the United States and Japan. A gripping narrative of human resilience, Nagasaki will help shape public discussion and debate over one of the most controversial wartime acts in history. From the Hardcover edition.

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