Normally I would put a recommendation for a book that I'm just about finished with in the "What book are you reading at the moment?" thread, but since I got to know the author this summer I thought I'd give this plug its very own thread. Please note that while I am taking the time to recommend the book for this reason, if I did not think well of the book, or did not think it would be of great interest to many of you, then I wouldn't be mentioning it at all. But this is most certainly an interesting book, and right for this crowd: as I have heard David Heath say, the Matrix games that sell best are those about "NATO, nukes and Nazis," and this book has all three.
The book is Graham Farmelo's "Churchill's Bomb: How the United States Overtook Britain in the First Nuclear Arms Race," which came out in October. It tells for the first time in great detail the story of the U.K.'s own initial plans to develop a nuclear bomb, its being completely eclipsed by the U.S. due to a host of factors (not least Churchill's decision-making) and then having to play second-fiddle before being frozen out, and ends in the 50's with the U.K. both a nuclear power and developing nuclear power for domestic use. Churchill is the primary focus, but much of the book is about famous physicists and how the A-bomb went from being the stuff of an H.G. Wells* story to a reality far faster than almost anyone thought possible. The author is himself a physicist, and therefore highly qualified to deal with the subject. A truly fascinating book, and one I have no doubt some of you will enjoy.
Here's the link:
* Regarding H.G. Wells, who knew that he and Churchill were so close? The book also explores their relationship, which was all new to me.