Spying on the Bomb

American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea

Jeffrey T. Richelson (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

Spying on the Bomb is an "engrossing" (Wall Street Journal) global history of the American-led effort to spy on every nation with nuclear ambitions.

A global history of U.S. nuclear espionage from its World War II origins to twenty-first century threats from rogue states. For more than sixty years, the United States has monitored friends and foes who seek to develop the ultimate weapon. Since 1952 the nuclear club has grown to at least nine nations, while others are making serious attempts to join.

Each chapter of Spying on the Bomb chronologically focuses on the nuclear activities of one or more countries, intermingling what the United States believed was happening with accounts of what actually occurred in each country's laboratories, test sites, and decision-making councils. Jeffrey T. Richelson weaves recently declassified documents into his interviews with the scientists and spies involved in the nuclear espionage.

Spying on the Bomb reveals new information about U.S. intelligence work on the Soviet/Russian, French, Chinese, Indian, Israeli, and South African nuclear programs; on the attempts to solve the mysterious Vela Incident; and on current efforts to uncover the nuclear secrets of Iran and North Korea. The book also includes spy satellite photographs never before extracted from the national archives.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • September 2007
  • ISBN 978-0-393-32982-7
  • 6.1 × 9.2 in / 768 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Richelson’s exhaustive research has uncovered the fascinating stories of how American intelligence spied on our enemies and our allies over the past six decades in an effort to discover their nuclear secrets. The mixed record of success and failure provides important lessons for today as we try to learn what the North Koreans are up to.” — Robert S. Norris, author of Racing for the Bomb

“Richelson writes with admirable clarity.” — New York Times Book Review

“Full of tense and suspenseful turns.” — Kirkus Reviews

Spying on the Bomb…is especially damning in demonstrating how this costly array of gadgetry in the air, on land and beneath the sea still leaves us guessing about different nations’ nuclear capabilities.” — Los Angeles Times

“Searching and informed analysis of our nation’s nuclear espionage.” — Booklist

“A magisterial history of the U.S. nuclear intelligence effort.” — Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

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