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100 Suns: 1945-1962 Hardcover – 9 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (9 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224064517
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224064514
  • Product Dimensions: 27.7 x 2.4 x 34.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

An awesome collection of 100 previously classified photographs of nuclear tests conducted by the US between 1945 and 1962, with detailed captions and chronology of the development of the nuclear bomb.

About the Author

Michael Light is a photographer living in San Francisco. He has been an environmental lobbyist. His project Full Moon in conjunction with NASA was exhibited worldwide in 1999 and 2000. He is currently working on an aerial survey of the American West.

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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By londonreader21 on 2 Feb. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Within the covers of this book Michael Light has collected official photographs from 100 of the 215 nuclear explosions set off in the atmosphere by the United States Government between 1945 and 1962: the point where they began carrying out tests underground. Shot entirely for scientific and archival purposes, perhaps the first thing to say about these photographs is that they have an absolutely staggering beauty. The notion of a fascinated child playing with fire springs to mind, along with the revulsion of what a thing of such beauty can do to a child's delicate skin. But even confined between the carefully designed pages of this book, regarded with a cognisance of the fact that the most recent was made more than forty years ago, their sheer force quickly gives reason to Oppenheimer’s famous quote from Hindu scripture: “I am become death, shatterer of worlds”. Oppenheimer, the polymath who alongside his scientific education found time to study Greek, Latin, French, German, Classics and Eastern philosophy, was apparently not quite the man for melodrama that those unfamiliar with direct sight of a nuclear blast might assume. Less than a month after he witnessed the detonation of the world’s first nuclear bomb in the New Mexico desert on 16th July 1945, as demonstrations of how the world had changed, two Japanese cities ceased to exist, and on 10th August 1945 the Japanese absolute surrender brought about the end of the World War that had accelerated the development of nuclear weaponry. But the nuclear genie could never be put back in the bottle.
Atom bombs it transpires all had names. Little Boy, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, is described in the book as “ a crude gun-type uranium device”, which caused 201,468 casualties while only actually harnessing 1.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "grstra" on 6 Jun. 2005
Format: Hardcover
A wonderfully presented pictorial guide showing almost half of the American atmospheric atomic & h-bomb detonations, dividing tests between the continental USA and pacific proving grounds. It's a large book containing the photos and individual test descriptions, giving you a rare insight to the destructive power of man's most powerful deterent to date. The closing sections of the book gives a guide to each detonation featured plus a chronological history of US weapon invantory. If you think you have all the books on this subject and don't have this one, you're missing out!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Ryan J. Fitch on 20 May 2009
Format: Hardcover
...so said Robert Oppenheimer- who provides the name of this book, clipped from a description of the Trinity test explosion. This is a truly gorgeous book, that sits proudly on my coffee table. I find myself gently thumbing through it when I am angry, sad, uptight or relaxed. These are truly images of beauty, even if they are taken for other reasons.

About halfway however, it hits you that these are tools of destruction. Tools designed to kill watch hands dead, to vapourise and rearrange matter. It is this omnipotence that is captured so very well in just the images, simply captioned with a date and name.

...my favourite? About halfway there is a shot in a trench, with soldiers ducking from the glare. Radioactive dust is visible, a nuclear snow. So beautiful.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Paul on 10 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
I have flicked through this book a number of times and each time it makes me think about why these weapons were built. What are they for, really? So they were built never to be used, huh? hmmm, never did understand that. Anyway, this book really does provoke some thought; utter destruction can be so beautiful. And once you've looked at the pics, read the history of the arms race in the Appendix and see just how big the so-called 'missile gap' really was...
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "rogmur" on 8 Sept. 2004
Format: Hardcover
I found Michael Light's "100 Suns" purely by chance in the Tate Modern's art shop.
I almost bought it purely because of the fantastic, remarkable photos. The book contains 100 atomic bomb tests from 1945 to 1962 by the United States.
I have always had a fascination of the visual beauty of atomic explosions and the science behind them.
I do hope this does not sound peverse, (I am not attracted to the awesome destructive power).
The wonderful luxurious sombre black paper quality, shows this to be a real postwar masterpiece.
There is page after page of these incredible photographs of various kilotons and megatons exploding in the middle of a desert.
Michael White has put together this wonderful photographic record of nuclear splendour.
The book retails at £30- but I was ever so pleased to see Amazon selling it for £21, wooooow!!!!
I urge you to buy this book and treasure it.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By P. White on 18 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The casual observer of this book will see 100 images of above ground nuclear detonations. Some of the images are spectacular, some are technically poor. The printing quality is excellent: using the finest paper and ink but if you only value this book for the quality of the images then you're missing the point. This book is evidence of the staggering destructive power of the nuclear weapon and it is a reminder that lurking in the background is a terrible force awaiting its time. This book is a warning and a document of the truth. Nuclear tests still take place, out of sight and usually unpublicised but '100 Suns' reveals a time when The Bomb was NOT hidden and allowed it's full hellish impact upon our world. Be scared!
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