Readers looking for a writer who can smoothly blend together interesting characters and hard facts will enjoy the writings of Richard Rhodes. Like yesterday’s author, John McPhee, Rhodes is known forboth the quality of his researchinto the subjects about which he is writing and for an ability to make complex topics understandable.
This ability is most evident in Rhodes’s trilogy on atomic weapons, beginning with The Making of the Atomic Bomb. In these books and his other works, Rhodes brings a sense of scale to the broader story by relating the lives of those people involved. In the case of his works on nuclear warfare, soldiers, scientists, and politicians all have their say, and the stories of their lives ground the science in humanity.
Like McPhee though, Rhodes can also write perceptively about the natural world, and his biography of John James Audubon, one of America’s first…
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