Perhaps no scientific development has shaped the course of modern history as much as the harnessing of nuclear energy, yet the 20th century might have turned out differently had it been first achieved by Great Britain, suggests this history by theLos Angeles Times Book Prize–winning author of The Strangest Man. Showing uncharacteristic hesitation, Winston Churchill marginalized some of the key British atomic researchers, even as he spurned Franklin Roosevelt's offer to jointly develop nuclear weapons. In the end, with the deployment of the first atomic bomb and the end of the war America, rather than Britain, emerged as the premiere superpower.
"Science historian [Graham] Farmelo ends each chapter with a cliffhanger that will keep readers paging through this thoroughly researched, detailed history of Britain's involvement with nuclear energy in the WWII era and beyond.... Farmelo's prose moves quickly with much action; he evokes a sense of place and time with details of daily life."—Publishers Weekly