- Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER
- Format: Hardback | 416 pages
- Dimensions: 162mm x 230mm x 38mm | 620g
- Publication date: 27 March 2014
- Publication City/Country: New York
- ISBN 10: 145166043X
- ISBN 13: 9781451660432
- Sales rank: 721,140
Radiation is a complex and paradoxical concept: staggering amounts of energy flow from seemingly inert rock and that energy is both useful and dangerous. While nuclear energy affects our everyday lives-from nuclear medicine and food irradiation to microwave technology-its invisible rays trigger biological damage, birth defects, and cellular mayhem. From the end of the nineteenth century through the use of the atomic bomb in World War II to the twenty-first century's confrontation with the dangers of nuclear power, Nelson illuminates a pageant of fascinating historical figures: Enrico Fermi, Marie and Pierre Curie, Albert Einstein, FDR, Robert Oppenheimer, and Ronald Reagan, among others. He reveals many little-known details, including how Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler transformed America from a country that created light bulbs and telephones into one that split atoms; how the most grotesque weapon ever invented could realize Alfred Nobel's lifelong dream of global peace; how emergency workers and low-level utility employees fought to contain a run-amok nuclear reactor, while wondering if they would live or die. Brilliantly fascinating and remarkably accessible, The Age of Radiance traces mankind's complicated and difficult relationship with the dangerous power it discovered and made part of civilization.
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Craig Nelson is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Rocket Men, as well as several previous books, including The First Heroes, Thomas Paine (winner of the Henry Adams Prize), and Let's Get Lost (shortlisted for W.H. Smith's Book of the Year). His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Salon, National Geographic, The New England Review, Popular Science, Reader's Digest, and a host of other publications.
"Wow! Craig Nelson's The Age of Radiance is like the best of John McPhee mixed with the page-turning glory of a science-fiction thriller. A magnificent storyteller, Nelson takes even the most atomized of details and spins a dazzling history of the Atomic Age. This book gives you x-ray glasses: After reading it you literally can't walk down the street without seeing everything in our world anew."--Doug Stanton, author of Horse Soldiers and In Harm s Way"