Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age

Book Cover for Atomic Doctors: Conscience and Complicity at the Dawn of the Nuclear Age By James L. Nolan Jr., Chair and Washington Gladden 1859 Professor of Sociology. Harvard University Press, August 2020. 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. 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.