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Smyth, Henry DeWolf | Atomic Energy for Military Purposes

  • First trade edition, first printing. An unusually nice copy in the jacket.

    Atomic Energy for Military Purposes was written as the official, unclassified narrative of the development of the atomic bomb, a “remarkably full and candid account” intended for general release once the weapon was made public (Printing and the Mind of Man 422).

    The first — now unobtainable — edition, was a mimeographed version stamped secret, of which all copies save Smyth’s own were destroyed. The next was a lithoprint published in an edition of only 1,000 copies distributed to project leaders and members of the press, followed by a Government Printing Office edition. This is the first trade edition, published by Princeton University Press after editors at McGraw-Hill found the text too technical for a general audience and suggested a major rewrite, which was vetoed by Smyth. They needn’t have worried: officially published on September 10, 1945, Atomic Energy for Military Purposes remained on the New York Times bestseller list until January of the following year, and would go through eight printings by 1973.

  • ...The Official Report on the Development of the Atomic Bomb under the Auspices of the United States Government, 1940-1945. Written at the Request of Maj. Gen. L. R. Groves. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1945.

    Octavo. Original coral-coloured cloth, titles to spine in dark red. With the dust jacket. 5 double-sided plates of which 4 are photographic. Lower corner slightly bumped also affecting the jacket, small white spot to extreme edge of upper board, contents faintly toned in the margins. An excellent, fresh copy in the jacket that is a little tanned along the spine panel and edges, with some tiny nicks at the head of the spine panel.