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Publisher's Summary

The author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb lays bare the secret heart of the Cold War.

Richard Rhodes' landmark history of the atomic bomb won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Now, in this majestic new masterpiece of history, science, and politics, he tells for the first time the secret story of how and why the hydrogen bomb was made, and traces the path by which this supreme artifact of 20th-century technology became the defining issue of the Cold War.

From the day in 1941 when the first word of Anglo-American atomic-bomb research arrived in Moscow to the week of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, DARK SUN is full of unexpected -- and sometimes hair-raising -- revelations based on previously undisclosed Soviet and U.S. sources, including:

  • How the Soviets were able to produce a carbon copy of the first U.S. atomic bomb
  • How the SAC fought for independent control of U.S. nuclear weapons -- while flying deliberately provocative daytime missions over Soviet cities
  • How the first and only direct nuclear confrontation between the superpowers was also very nearly the last

Following the lives of the atomic scientists on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Dark Sun is the definitive work on the hydrogen bomb, showing why the world wars that devastated the first half of the century can never happen again.

©1996 Richard Rhodes (P)2004 Simon & Schuster

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  • Delano
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 04-17-13

Abridged??

It would be much better to have the entire book. They cut out one of the parts I had most wanted to hear; apparently he discusses the reasons why thermonuclear bombs aren't made as destructive as technologically feasible. Who knows what else is missing from this version.

Otherwise the book is quite good, a nice balance of technology, biography, and politics. And a good reality check on what nuclear stockpiles really entail for society.

Rhodes is not the smoothest reader in the world, but I enjoyed hearing the author reading his own writing.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A little tough going but worth it

Fascinating book. I wish it were available in an unabridged version. Some of the technical descriptions of the various bomb designs are a little hard going. You really need diagrams to follow them. But the descriptions of the people and politics were excellent. The author turns out to be an exceptionally good narrator. If you want to learn something about arguably the most important era in modern history then check out this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Read Twice, Listened Twice

What did you love best about Dark Sun?

The combination of deep insight into the people plus the large-scale history including some extremely important things which no one talks about.

What other book might you compare Dark Sun to and why?

Rhodes' other book The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Rhodes is not the best narrator. I've seen him in videos on this topic and he's a bit more interesting, but audio only... could be better. Sorry but he should stick to writing. I like him, don't get me wrong...

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

You will not believe what the US did (and allowed) in the name of Lend Lease. Read it to find out!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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High wisdom on a super serious subject

Thank you Richard Rhodes on writing a clear, insightful book on so important a subject. Thank our lucky stars that Teller faded away and LeMay passed from power. Those two deserve to be the scorpions in the jar, not the US & Russia. Great book, well read. -Dale Joyner

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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important documentation

important documentation of a time that must not be forgotten! the millennial and future generations, must be well informed and understanding of the danger unleashed so many years ago ! I have hope but i am not hopefull

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Probable Q RD Sigma & TS SCI SAP SAR Info

Abridged version. Story OK. Bad idea to disseminate weapon design & terms of art including slang (& apparent IC codewords).

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Y. Syed
  • 06-16-15

Essential history

The Thermal nuclear weapons, the science, the history, the politics, the espionage, the arms-race and the Cold War; all in one book.
I wish that the author's "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" was also available as an audiobook.
Also wish that both were available as unabridged…

2 of 2 people found this review helpful