Before the Bomb, there were simply 'bombs', lower case. But it was the twentieth century, one hundred years of almost incredible scientific progress, that saw the birth of the Bomb, the human race's most powerful and most destructive discovery.
In this magisterial and enthralling account, Gerard DeGroot gives us the life story of the Bomb, from its birth in the turn-of-the-century physics labs of Europe to a childhood in the New Mexico desert of the 1940s, from adolescence and early adulthood in Nagasaki and Bikini, Australia and Siberia to unsettling maturity in test sites and missile silos all over the globe. By turns horrific, awe-inspiring and blackly comic, The Bomb is never less than compelling.
For a very brief moment during the 1960s, America was moonstruck. Every boy dreamed of being an astronaut; every girl dreamed of marrying one. But despite the best efforts of a generation of scientists, the almost foolhardy heroics of the astronauts, and 35 billion dollars, the moon turned out to be a place of 'magnificent desolation', to use Buzz Aldrin's words - a sterile rock of no purpose to anyone. In Dark Side of the Moon, Gerard DeGroot reveals how NASA cashed in on the Americans' thirst for heroes in an age of discontent and became obsessed with putting men in space. Landing on the moon, it was argued, would be good for the economy, for politics, and for the soul. It could even win the Cold War. Drawing on meticulous archival research, DeGroot cuts through the myths constructed by the Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson administrations and sustained by NASA ever since and exposes the truth behind one of the most revered fictions of American history.