Last week I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, and the other 3 books in his history of nuclear weapons, Dark Sun, Arsenals of Folly, and Twilight of the Bombs. My colleague MC and I are using the last of those books in our Nuclear Weapons and Power course, so we invited Rhodes to come speak to our class. He also gave a public talk about nuclear weapons and spoke to a group of writing students who had read his book, How to Write.
So what is a Pulitzer Prize-winning, world-renowned expert, who can command a 5 figure appearance fee like? He’s a great guy, very down to earth, generous with his time, charming to talk to, and respectful toward everyone he met, including all our students.
And very interesting, just as you’d expect from a guy who’s literally written the history of nuclear weapons, as well as other non-fiction work as well as novels, and has traveled the world doing his research. But just as good at listening to others talk about what they know as he is at telling others what he knows (and his public lecture was very very good).
If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, don’t miss the opportunity. And if you ever get the chance to have lunch or dinner with him, jump at the chance.
And read his books. He’s an excellent writer and really digs deep into his topics. He’s working on a new book, a history of the Spanish Civil War. Keep an eye out for it.