I started with his first book, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", which earned Rhodes a Pulitzer. It's still my favorite, but the entire series comprises a mini-education in history, diplomacy, science, war, politics, human nature, and a touch of philosophy. Rhodes' gift is his ability to tackle very complex topics across multiple domains to tell compelling stories, lucidly, authoritatively, and concisely. His objectivity and clarity are important elements in his writing of history. If you're interested in history, science, nuclear power, poly-sci, WW-II, start with "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" and go through the series. You'll feel like you took a graduate course in several subjects.
If you want an update on the state of affairs in nuclear weapons, terrorism, post-Cold-War politics, Iraq, Iran, N. Korea, the book offers plenty. I particularly value the stories behind the scenes of how dedicated professionals, civil servants, and a former president made the world a safer place, without fanfare. These people deserve to be recognized. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in these topics, but, if you're not, it will bore you...just being honest. Even if you are interested, there's some rough going with an alphabet soup of treaties & organizations. The book is scholarly, after all. While it stands on its own, it's also the culmination of serious work accomplished in his three prior books.
Rhodes has taken tons of raw sensitive data & material from around the world and, like the processes used in nuclear enrichment, he produced highly enriched intellectual material, suitable for a long slow burn or a flash of enlightenment. (sorry :-) I recommend starting with, "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", but if you want to go to the present, you won't be disappointed.
Richard Rhodes has accomplished more than writing good history. He has contributed much needed understanding and opportunities for dialogue. He has also now become part of the story.
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