BOOKS: BRINK OF ARMAGEDDON

RICHARD RHODES' ACCOUNT OF THE MAKING OF THE H-BOMB REVISITS A TERRIFYING TALE OF SUPERPOWER RIVALRY AND ESPIONAGE

With the discovery of fission," C.P. Snow once wrote, "physicists became, almost overnight, the most important military resource a nation-state could call upon." The unleashing of the awesome destructive power of the atom turned physicists into politicians and politicians into physicists. Scientists were forced to reckon with the repercussions of what they had wrought, while political and military leaders had to comprehend the power they held at their fingertips. In Richard Rhodes' epic and fascinating Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb (Simon & Schuster; 731 pages; $32.50), a sequel to his Pulitzer prizewinning The Making of the Atomic Bomb,...

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