Great book mixing science, history and politics. The story goes back to understand the science (and the struggle to find the right path and understanding). It also helps you appreciate the way scientists work. It is a thick book, but very rewarding for its insights.
This was a major development in science, but Rhodes downplays it’s military importance. During the way it was speculation on how far along the various countries were in developing an atomic weapon. When the war ended it was clearer that the countries were much farther behind. Rhodes also writes about that time when only Japan is still fighting and the leaders in the U.S. are trying to decide how to bring the war to a quick end.
The atomic bond was terrible but so was the incendiary bombing in cities such as Dresden and Tokyo. Those bombings killed tens of thousands of people too. In the decisions of which cities might be bombed with an atomic bomb, those targets were chosen partially on cities that had not been bombed with incendiaries.
Rhodes book stop with the bombing of Nagasaki, but the book discusses how the scientists were already far along on the development of the thermonuclear bomb. The development of atomic weapons shows just how terrible the rise of Hitler and Nazism was viewed across the world. It was evil that must be stopped.