Cover: Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age, from Harvard University PressCover: Atomic Doctors in HARDCOVER

Atomic Doctors

Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$29.95 • £23.95 • €27.00

ISBN 9780674248632

Publication Date: 08/06/2020

Trade

304 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

52 illus.

Belknap Press

World

On Thursday, October 15, at 12:00 p.m. EDT, watch James Nolan, Jr., discuss Atomic Doctors at a live online event hosted by the Abigail Adams Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Please check with the Institute for details on how to attend.

An unflinching examination of the moral and professional dilemmas faced by physicians who took part in the Manhattan Project.

After his father died, James L. Nolan, Jr., took possession of a box of private family materials. To his surprise, the small secret archive contained a treasure trove of information about his grandfather’s role as a doctor in the Manhattan Project. Dr. Nolan, it turned out, had been a significant figure. A talented ob-gyn radiologist, he cared for the scientists on the project, organized safety and evacuation plans for the Trinity test at Alamogordo, escorted the “Little Boy” bomb from Los Alamos to the Pacific Islands, and was one of the first Americans to enter the irradiated ruins of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Participation on the project challenged Dr. Nolan’s instincts as a healer. He and his medical colleagues were often conflicted, torn between their duty and desire to win the war and their oaths to protect life. Atomic Doctors follows these physicians as they sought to maximize the health and safety of those exposed to nuclear radiation, all the while serving leaders determined to minimize delays and maintain secrecy. Called upon both to guard against the harmful effects of radiation and to downplay its hazards, doctors struggled with the ethics of ending the deadliest of all wars using the most lethal of all weapons. Their work became a very human drama of ideals, co-optation, and complicity.

A vital and vivid account of a largely unknown chapter in atomic history, Atomic Doctors is a profound meditation on the moral dilemmas that ordinary people face in extraordinary times.

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights, by William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, authors of The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights

As times change so must we as a society, and that includes our conception of rights, say William F. Schulz and Sushma Raman, whose new book, The Coming Good Society: Why New Realities Demand New Rights, came out just as Black Lives Matter protesters filled the streets this summer. We spoke with them about the current view—and the future—of human rights. How do you understand the purpose of rights? What function do they serve in a society?