Year in Reading

A Year in Reading: Geoff Dyer

By posted at 3:00 pm on December 11, 2012 5

coverLast year I chose All God’s Children, a terrific book that deserves to be more widely known. This year I’m going for a book that could hardly be better known. Richard Rhodes’s The Making of the Atomic Bomb scooped the big three prizes – the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award – and turns out to be every bit as impressive as its immense reputation. How did one man write such a book? The story converges on two dates, in two places – Hiroshima and Nagasaki – but to tell it Rhodes has to start waaay back and spread his reach to take in the discovery of the atom, the use of weapons against civilians, the flight of Jews from Nazi Germany, military strategy, engineering, political wrangling, and god knows what else. The cast of characters is huge, the command of narrative unerring, and the science is compelling even if it remains – to me – largely incomprehensible. A great, great book that reminded me of something I tend to forget. The thought of starting out on a 1000-page book of non-fiction is rather off-putting, especially if you are doing so with no particular aim in mind. But once such a book has you in its thrall it feels like it takes no more time or effort to get through than a three-hundred page novel.

More from A Year in Reading 2012

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

The good stuff: The Millions’ Notable articles

The motherlode: The Millions’ Books and Reviews

Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, and follow The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.

The Millions' future depends on your support. Become a member today!

Share this article

More from the Millions

5 Responses to “A Year in Reading: Geoff Dyer”

  1. anmiryam budner
    at 4:12 pm on December 11, 2012

    Rhodes’s tome was one of the most readable and thrilling books I’ve ever read. Thanks for reminding me that it is time to reread it.

  2. Bart
    at 4:28 pm on December 11, 2012

    If Geoff Dyer were to recommend an Ayn Rand novel, I’d read it.

  3. Many years in reading. | Who Killed Lemmy Caution?
    at 7:28 pm on December 11, 2012

    […] Millions has its Year in Reading feature running right now, with Geoff Dyer the latest to pitch in (with just one massive suggestion). [via The […]

  4. Bart
    at 8:50 pm on December 11, 2012

    Bart you might want to read Ayn Rand and not take the blogospheres politio-scare mongering by their word. Think for yourself man you might learn something.

  5. Hubert Sorrentino
    at 12:01 pm on December 12, 2012

    Ayn Rand was a bimbo. And anyone who follows her rickety trains of thought is less than a bimbo, and right now, in this country especially, where have a surplus of Randian Sub-Bimbos. I can’t think of anything more conformist than reading Ayn Rand. Or less American.

Post a Response

Comments with unrelated links will be deleted. If you'd like to reach our readers, consider buying an advertisement instead.

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments that do not add to the conversation will be deleted at our discretion.

NEW COMMENTING RULE: Comments may be held for moderation and/or deleted. Whitelisted commenters will see their comments appear immediately. Don't be a jerk. We reserve the right to delete your comment or revoke commenting privileges for any reason we want.