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Dark Sun

The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb
Written by: Richard Rhodes
Narrated by: Richard Rhodes
Length: 6 hrs
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb lays bare the secret heart of the Cold War.

Richard Rhodes' landmark history of the atomic bomb won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Now, in this majestic new masterpiece of history, science, and politics, he tells for the first time the secret story of how and why the hydrogen bomb was made, and traces the path by which this supreme artifact of 20th-century technology became the defining issue of the Cold War.

From the day in 1941 when the first word of Anglo-American atomic-bomb research arrived in Moscow to the week of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, DARK SUN is full of unexpected -- and sometimes hair-raising -- revelations based on previously undisclosed Soviet and U.S. sources, including:

  • How the Soviets were able to produce a carbon copy of the first U.S. atomic bomb
  • How the SAC fought for independent control of U.S. nuclear weapons -- while flying deliberately provocative daytime missions over Soviet cities
  • How the first and only direct nuclear confrontation between the superpowers was also very nearly the last

Following the lives of the atomic scientists on both sides of the Iron Curtain, Dark Sun is the definitive work on the hydrogen bomb, showing why the world wars that devastated the first half of the century can never happen again.

©1996 Richard Rhodes (P)2004 Simon & Schuster

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous, but sadly, VERY ABRIDGED

After completing The Making of the Atomic Bomb I searched out and bought this audiobook with a credit to carry on right away. After completing what I felt was extremely short and to the point, not at all what I had just experienced, it was noted at the end that this work was abridged. Needless to say, as one who never- EVER- buys abridged works I was not happy. I won’t return it, since I can't seem to find a full audio version. It was great to have the author's own words read by himself, lending the perfect inflections and words rolled out as they belonged. Content wise, I seem to have been forced to order a print copy, available through Amazon and delivered within two days, to put away the app for a bit and squeeze in some quiet time to evaluate the full message from the comfort of the easy chair. Feeling a bit cheated, but a lot inspired.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Delano
  • 2013-04-17

Abridged??

It would be much better to have the entire book. They cut out one of the parts I had most wanted to hear; apparently he discusses the reasons why thermonuclear bombs aren't made as destructive as technologically feasible. Who knows what else is missing from this version.

Otherwise the book is quite good, a nice balance of technology, biography, and politics. And a good reality check on what nuclear stockpiles really entail for society.

Rhodes is not the smoothest reader in the world, but I enjoyed hearing the author reading his own writing.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • H3LLP0P
  • 2019-02-20

Abridged

Not the full book, which is wonderful. It skips through so much content there is a lack of balance throughout.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Denise M.
  • 2018-07-26

Abridged

I Did not realize the book had been abridged. Would have preferred the whole story.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • n___n
  • 2018-05-27

Far too abridged

My feeling is that 75% of the content must have been cut in abridging this audiobook. It feels extremely rushed and lacking details, especially compared to The Making of the Atomic Bomb. In this abridged form it's a waste of time. Read the paper book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 2019-03-30

Incredibly Disappointing Follow Up

The Making of the Atomic Bomb is my favorite audiobook; its narrator manages to pace and deliver Rhodes' nuanced portraits of scientists and in-depth technical explanations perfectly. It's deep and comprehensive, laying out a clear path through the meandering half century between the birth of nuclear physics and the Trinity test. The complete ~900 page book takes an appropriate 37 hours; there are no jumps or missing links..

Dark Sun fails to live up to its predecessor's standard. Rhodes is a decent narrator, but he lacks the performance skill of a professional. He is, however, an incredible author and researcher. Unfortunately, he seriously undermines his own work by abridging it. Trimming down ~800 pages into six hours results in a hack job; the smooth logical progression that characterized The Making of the Atomic bomb are lost. Towards the end, critical portions are removed and transitions feel jumpy. Characters are often one dimensional, having been stripped of exposition and background stories. Worst yet, the audio book manages to spoil some of the best passages in the book by stripping them of their context.

If you liked Making of the Atomic Bomb for it's depth and completeness, I'd highly recommend skipping this audio book. It ruins Rhodes' excellent work. Read the unabridged print or kindle edition instead. Reading the entire book is made harder by having listened to only the highlights. It's like being served only the appetizers and desert from a 7 course meal; it ruins your appetite for what would otherwise be a great experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-03-09

eh

it was ok. but it never really gave the level of detail that made the first book so overwhelmingly good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • HittsMcGee
  • 2018-04-25

Not as good as The Atom Bomb

I love Richard Rhodes, but the Making of the Atom Bomb was simply superb. This book was less detailed, had less compelling narrative, and was much less engaging.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dr. Jonathan Newman
  • 2016-02-23

A little tough going but worth it

Fascinating book. I wish it were available in an unabridged version. Some of the technical descriptions of the various bomb designs are a little hard going. You really need diagrams to follow them. But the descriptions of the people and politics were excellent. The author turns out to be an exceptionally good narrator. If you want to learn something about arguably the most important era in modern history then check out this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bob Denny
  • 2011-09-23

Read Twice, Listened Twice

What did you love best about Dark Sun?

The combination of deep insight into the people plus the large-scale history including some extremely important things which no one talks about.

What other book might you compare Dark Sun to and why?

Rhodes' other book The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Rhodes is not the best narrator. I've seen him in videos on this topic and he's a bit more interesting, but audio only... could be better. Sorry but he should stick to writing. I like him, don't get me wrong...

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No

Any additional comments?

You will not believe what the US did (and allowed) in the name of Lend Lease. Read it to find out!

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-10-08

Hard hitting documentary!

A cold hard look at the world's most evil weapons that will soon be used.