A shot-by-shot history of America's nuclear test program at the
Nevada Test Site.
Kirkus Review: Under The Cloud is a chilling documentary
history of America's above-ground nuclear tests conducted during the 1950's
and early 1960's. The author takes on the subject and universalizes it, at
the same time giving it the flavor of a Dos Passos novel. Like Bob Dylan's
'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall," a hard rain already has fallen,
bringing with it nuclear debris across the continental United States. . .An
appendix details the trajectory of radioactive clouds after each test. The
author lists each town over which the clouds blew. Doubtless each reader will
be able to locate their own hometown or one nearby in this lengthy list. Scary
Tampa Tribune and Times: "This book is a detailed account
of every series of tests, unusual incidents of each, persons who were near
to watch, and, most chilling, the clouds and their trajectories across the
country and the world."
New York Times: "Perhaps the greatest virtue of Under
The Cloud is that it makes nuclear weapons tests personal events, impossible
to forget by those who participated in them and forgotten only with difficulty
by those who come to understand that all of us have been unwilling and unwitting
participants. In Mr. Miller's words, 'the invisible shadow of the nuclear
weapon, created in the fury of the most intense explosion on earth and falling
from the sky with the rain, has already touched each and every one
Yakima Herald-Republic: "A chronological march along
the nation's atomic trail with only brief stops for visits with a few of the
thousands of American servicemen who participated in maneuvers close to ground
zero right after nuclear tests. Other stops include the Eastman Kodak Co. labs
in Rochester, NY where technicians found strange splotches on their film that
were later linked to bomb blasts thousands of miles away; the movie set of
'The Conqueror' in radioactive sands of southwestern Utah. Years later the
film's stars, John Wayne, Dick Powell, Agnes Moorehead and Susan Hayward, all
would die of cancer.
Miller's narrative, while ponderous at times, is stripped
of technical jargon and easy to understand. The book essentially is a documentary.
And the scariest fact of all is that the final chapter has not yet been written."
Los Angeles Times News Service: " The main thing
that distinguishes Under The Cloud from so many other similar works
is the focus on the meanderings of the clouds of radioactive fallout. Miller
reproduces maps of the fallout trajectories for many of teh tests, which portray
the paths of the clouds across the country, as well as a 40-page appendix which
lists the names of the towns over which the clouds passed.
Tampa Florida Tribune and Times: "This book is the
a most detailed account of every series of tests, unusual incidents of each,
persons who were near to watch, and most chilling, the clouds and their trajectories
across the country and the world."
The Sciences: "Buster-Jangle, Upshot-Knothole. Plumbbob.
Tumbler-Snapper. Between 1951 and 1963, more than one hundred above-ground
nuclear tests with code names such as these rumbled over the Nevada Test Site,
earning Yucca Flat the title Valley Where the Tall Mushrooms Grow. Nearby,
residents became accustomed to dazzling white flashes in the sky before dawn,
and windows rattled as far away as Los Angeles. Radioactive dust, blasted into
the stratosphere, was carried thousands of miles by prevailing winds before
settling to Earth silently, in drops of rain or flakes of snow.
Yet the public's attitude toward the tests, well documented
by Richard Miller, was long one of blissful ignorance. Most Americans bought
the official line that the fallout was limited to areas near Yucca Flat and
was, in any event harmless. A 1955 article in U.S. News & World Report assured
readers that radiation-contaminated fish could be eaten safely 'if skinned
with reasonable care.'"
A complete list of our technical books
on nuclear fallout is found here.