By Craig Nelson
A riveting narrative of the Atomic Age—from x-rays and Marie Curie to the Nevada attempt website and the 2011 meltdown in Japan—written by means of the prizewinning and bestselling writer of Rocket Men.
From the New York instances bestselling writer of Rocket Men and the award-winning biographer of Thomas Paine comes the 1st entire historical past of the Atomic Age, an excellent, magisterial account of the lads and ladies who exposed the secrets and techniques of the nucleus, introduced its strength to the USA, and ignited the 20th century.
When Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi, and Edward Teller cast the technology of radioactivity, they created a revolution that arced from the tip of the 19th century, during the process global battle II and the chilly conflict of superpower brinksmanship, to our personal twenty-first-century war of words with the risks of nuclear strength and proliferation—a historical past of paradox, miracle, and nightmare. whereas nuclear technological know-how improves our daily lives—from medication to microwave technology—radiation’s invisible powers can set off melanoma and mobile mayhem. Writing with a biographer’s ardour, Craig Nelson unlocks one of many nice mysteries of the universe in a piece that's tragic, successful, and exceptionally, fascinating.
From the invention of X-rays within the Eighteen Nineties, during the delivery of nuclear strength in an deserted Chicago soccer stadium, to the bomb developers of Los Alamos and the apocalyptic Dr. Strangelove period, Nelson illuminates a competition of interesting old figures: Marie and Pierre Curie, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Franklin Roosevelt, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Harry Truman, Curtis LeMay, John F. Kennedy, Robert McNamara, Ronald Reagan, and Mikhail Gorbachev, between others. He unearths how excellent Jewish scientists fleeing Hitler remodeled the US from a country that created lightbulbs and phones into person who cut up atoms; how the main gruesome weapon ever invented may possibly become aware of Alfred Nobel’s lifelong dream of worldwide peace; and the way, in our time, emergency employees and low-level application staff fought to comprise run-amok nuclear reactors whereas pondering in the event that they could stay or die.
Radiance defies our common sense perspectives of nature, with its fabulous quantities of strength flowing from doubtless inert rock and subject pulsing in half-lives that transforms into different states over the process a long time or within the blink of a watch. Radiation is as frightening a notice as melanoma, yet it’s the ability that retains our planet hot, in addition to the strength in the back of earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, and so natural to all lifestyles that even our personal human our bodies are radioactive. via tracing mankind’s complex dating with the harmful strength it found and unleashed, Nelson unearths how atomic energy and radiation are indivisible from our daily lives.
Brilliantly advised and masterfully crafted, The Age of Radiance presents a brand new knowing of a misunderstood epoch in historical past and restores to prominence the forgotten heroes and heroines who've replaced all of our lives for higher and for worse. It confirms Craig Nelson’s place as probably the most energetic and skillful renowned historians writing at the present time.