Books: Labor of a Birth

DAY OF TRINITY by Lansing Lamont. 333 pages. Atheneum. $6.95.

Twenty years ago, over an arid stretch of New Mexican sand that the Spaniards called Jornada del Muerto (Journey of Death), history's first atomic bomb blasted the dawn. This is the sometimes chilling story of that still chilling event. The author, a correspondent in TIME'S Washington bureau, has done a painstakingly thorough job of reporting that makes that lurid moment seem to have happened only yesterday.

Lamont tells his story in terms of the men and the science that conceived and built mankind's most destructive weapon. The route that led up to the...

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