The American Atom
A Documentary History of Nuclear Policies from the Discovery of Fission to the Present
Edited by Philip L. Cantelon, Richard G. Hewlett, and Robert C. Williams
"A gold mine of revealing and often hard-to-find primary sources."—Nucleus
"Chernobyl has once more demonstrated, as did Three Mile Island, that a nuclear accident anywhere is a nuclear accident everywhere."—Alvin Weinberg
"The book's purpose is not advocacy . . . but historiography, and among its virtues are listings of readings and suggestions for obtaining source documents. Those interested in the nuclear-technology debate will benefit from this extremely useful compendium."—New York Times
Debate over nuclear policy, whether about nuclear weapons or nuclear energy, most often focuses on issues of the present or the future. The documents collected in The American Atom remind us, however, that the issues involved have a past…We follow the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the 'father of the American bomb,' thorough his letters, observations of those close to the Manhattan Project and testimony to the Atomic Energy Commission. President Dwight Eisenhower's 1953 'Atoms for Peace' speech demonstrates how far back calls for nuclear sanity go, and the listing of nuclear-weapons accidents shows how dangerous it may be to ignore those calls.