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Brighter Than a Thousand Suns (Pelican) [Paperback]

Robert Jungk
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New Impression edition (24 Sep 1970)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140206671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140206678
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,099,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting & easy to read 5 Oct 2003
By Keith Appleyard VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This book was written nearly 50 years ago in the 1950's, so naturally some of the stories are incomplete with todays hindsight, but I wish I'd read this book 20 years ago. It is exteremely well written, and full of fascinating anecdotes. Although I am familiar with many of the characters & stories, there was something new for me in every chapter, for example the insights into Oppenheimer in Germany before WWII. It would be wonderful if a revised version could be published incorporating the story of the Soviet Atom Scientists.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Says very little 9 July 2010
Format:Paperback
Originally published in German in 1956. First English translation 1958. So it covers up to the claimed Soviet nuclear H bomb, and the 'Lucky Dragon' incident of supposed irradiated Japanese fishermen. Jungk was apparently a Berlin Jew, born 1913, who studied European classics and got a PhD in 'modern European history' - presumably Europe since the French Revolution.

I reread this to try to disentangle mythology from truth. Jungk as might perhaps be guessed says virtually nothing about the science or technology - or mistakes. There is (for example) no account of separation of U235; no account of why 'heavy water' might be important, or how it's isolated; no account even of where uranium was mined. Jungk says in effect that radioactive poison can now be made more or less indefinitely - but this seems not true since the supply of neutrons seemed/seems fixed by the amount of uranium mined. Jungk made little attempt to check anything, though there are a few letters to him from physicists.

Jungk's main attitude is rather awestruck reverence in quotation - for example, a Japanese physicist is quoted as saying only an atomic bomb could do this. This doesn't really work: for example, Jungk says hugely detailed calculations were needed. (He doesn't say what they were and in fact one has to wonder whether it's true - but I suppose if computers then resembled pocket calculators, well, they would be of some use. But if the need for elaborate calculations is true, how come the measured blast from explosions was supposed to be far greater than estimated?
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting! 18 Jun 2013
By Marburg - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Reveals little-known and rarely published details to this momentous development as well as the underlying somewhat questionable political strategies employed.
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