The true age of shock and awe was ushered in almost six decades ago, when members of the covert Manhattan Project detonated a sphere of plutonium over the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945. The world's first nuclear explosion erupted with a force approximately equal to 20,000 tons of TNT, creating a fireball so intense eyewitnesses compared it to the noonday sun, followed by an eerie violet-blue mushroom cloud. Even before studies showed that the fallout blew 200 miles from ground zero, project director J. Robert Oppenheimer claimed to have witnessed "the... More >>>