The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era

Craig Nelson


A riveting narrative of the Atomic Age—from x-rays and Marie Curie to the Nevada try website and the 2011 meltdown in Japan—written via 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 whole historical past of the Atomic Age, an excellent, magisterial account of the boys and girls who exposed the secrets and techniques of the nucleus, introduced its energy to the US, and ignited the 20th century.

When Marie Curie, Enrico Fermi, and Edward Teller solid the technology of radioactivity, they created a revolution that arced from the top of the 19th century, throughout the process global warfare II and the chilly warfare 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 technology improves our daily lives—from drugs 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, in the course of 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 festival 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 finds how marvelous Jewish scientists fleeing Hitler remodeled the United States from a state that created lightbulbs and phones into person who break up atoms; how the main gruesome weapon ever invented may possibly discover Alfred Nobel’s lifelong dream of world peace; and the way, in our time, emergency staff and low-level software staff fought to comprise run-amok nuclear reactors whereas pondering in the event that they might stay or die.

Radiance defies our commonsense perspectives of nature, with its extraordinary quantities of power flowing from possible inert rock and subject pulsing in half-lives that transforms into different states over the process a long time or within the blink of an eye fixed. Radiation is as frightening a observe 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 existence that even our personal human our bodies are radioactive. by means of tracing mankind’s advanced dating with the harmful power it came across and unleashed, Nelson unearths how atomic strength and radiation are indivisible from our daily lives.

Brilliantly advised and masterfully crafted, The Age of Radiance offers a brand new figuring out of a misunderstood epoch in heritage and restores to prominence the forgotten heroes and heroines who've replaced all of our lives for greater and for worse. It confirms Craig Nelson’s place as essentially the most energetic and skillful renowned historians writing this day.

Show sample text content

Download sample