Peter Bacon Hales
This book originated as a brief preface to Outside the Gates of Eden: The Dream of America from Hiroshima to Now. Then it expanded to become the planned first chapter. After I discovered a trove of more than 400 never-consulted record boxes containing nearly all the original files from the Oak Ridge operations office, chaotically disorganized when they were declassified in the early '60s, I reconciled myself to an entirely different plan: putting Outside the Gates aside while I unsealed every box and pored over the contents. The result was too detailed and ungainly for most commercial publishers; luckily the visionary editor Karen Hewitt took it to publication, where it won the Herbert Hoover Prize and was a first-ever runner-up for the Parkman Prize in American history. It has aroused tremendous controversy-- if you don't believe me, read the readers' reviews on Amazon-- for it detailed the immensely complicated moral and environmental costs of the Manhattan Project.