©2012 Robert R Johnson




Jeanette Walls

Jeannette Walls - Author of The Glass Castle

"Romancing the Atom is a deeply engrossing, cautionary tale of our often dangerous love affair with a power we don't fully understand."

Andrew Lehland

Andrew Leland - Co-Editor of The Believer

"With its stories of Radium Girls painting glowing hands onto the faces of mass-produced clocks, and scientists quaffing radioactive 'liquid sunshine' like it was whiskey, Romancing the Atom is an expertly researched cultural history with all the wonder, paranoia, and color of a 1940s comic book."

Tom Zoellner - Author of Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World

"The beauty and the terror of nuclear fission has been an enchantment for men and societies for nearly seventy years. As Robert Johnson reminds us in his excellent book, that fascination has a deadly side that cannot be ignored. Through a series of selected episodes, he looks beyond the seduction of nuclear propaganda and shows us what the morning after looks like."

Bill Geerhart

Bill Geerhart - Editor and Co-founder of CONELRAD.com

"In Romancing the Atom, Robert R. Johnson illustrates the long history of the combustible element and the largely rapturous human reaction to it. The atom's tale is revealed through a series of fascinating and richly drawn stories that include some unforgettable and bizarre moments (Liquid Sunshine, anyone?). This fine book is a marvel of in depth research and highly entertaining narrative style."

J Shubert on Amazon.com

"Romancing The Atom is a reality check that all Americans should read to help us clarify the mindset we have about exploring for uranium and the resulting use of atomic energy. Dr. Johnson presents the issues in a very readable format using ten historical events from the Twentieth Century and the recent disaster following the earthquake near Fukushima, Japan. The question about expanding uranium mining sites continues, one State being Virginia, and numerous states are considering building more atomic energy plants. We will all have a better understanding of the issues once we read this engaging book."

MD on Amazon.com

"Robert Johnson did his research with Romancing the Atom. The stories were great and gave insight as to how careless we have been with the great power we hold. At first, I was unsure about this book, but I could not stop reading once I picked it up. A truly great non-fiction read."

Pasatiempo, The Arts and Culture Magazine of the Santa Fe New Mexican

"Romancing the Atom is not just a book about the shabby secrets of the atomic age, it also proposes a key for springing the lock on what…has made all this possible. Johnson's treatment is crisp and finely detailed. It offers a unique perspective…a jewel in plain sight."

Library Journal

"Johnson's familiar tone will make readers feel like he's in the room with them, telling a story about these (sometimes horrifying) events… This book will interest readers who love the history of science, especially 20th-century, military, or weapons history buffs."

Also Featured In


the believer

An excerpt published in September 2010. "For the Love of Pretty Things" by Robert R. Johnson, The Radium Girls and "Dying for Science." Read more.


New Atlantis

The New Atlantis

Featured in the summer 2009 issue, Romancing the Atom excerpt Uranium Prospecting, Once and Again is available online. Read more.