The MANIAC Computer: Background information when reading The MANIAC

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio


by Benjamin Labatut

The MANIAC by Benjamin Labatut X
The MANIAC by Benjamin Labatut
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Oct 2023, 368 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Danielle McClellan
Buy This Book

About this Book

The MANIAC Computer

This article relates to The MANIAC

Close-up color photograph of some of MANIAC's tubes and circuits The title of Benjamin Labatut's novel The MANIAC refers to the computer—the fastest of its kind at the time—developed by the Hungarian American physicist John von Neumann. During the Second World War, von Neumann was a consultant on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he focused on the detailed mathematical calculations needed to design the atomic bomb.

According to the Los Alamos National Laboratory, when the site was first opened in 1943 as a secret lab for creating atomic weapons, most of the calculations were done manually by women, often with degrees in the sciences or mathematics: "The human computers and a collection of IBM punched-card machines conducted the numerical simulations that made it possible to field two unique weapon designs in only 27 months."

After the war ended, von Neumann continued to be involved in the development of nuclear weapons. He was a member of the Atomic Energy Commission and an advocate for the hydrogen bomb. ...

Subscribers Only

This article is only available to members at this time, but you can read these articles for free.

About Membership

Member Login

Library Patron Login

Join BookBrowse

for a year of great reading
about exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Prince and the Coyote
    The Prince and the Coyote
    by David Bowles
    At fifteen, Crown Prince Acolmiztli is preparing to enter the calmecac, the temple school that will ...
  • Book Jacket: North Woods
    North Woods
    by Daniel Mason
    "History haunts him who does not honor it." This incidental line from Daniel Mason's North Woods ...
  • Book Jacket
    One Puzzling Afternoon
    by Emily Critchley
    While British author Emily Critchley's graceful novel One Puzzling Afternoon is about cognitive ...
  • Book Jacket: A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens
    A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens
    by Raul Palma
    Raul Palma's debut novel A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens introduces Hugo Contreras, who came to the ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Trouble the Living
by Francesca McDonnell Capossela
A mother and daughter confront the past in this enthralling debut set in Ireland and California.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Alfie and Me
    by Carl Safina

    A moving account of raising, then freeing, an orphaned screech owl. Three starred reviews!

  • Book Jacket

    Above the Salt
    by Katherine Vaz

    A sweeping love story that follows two Portugueses refugees who flee religious violence to build new lives in Civil-War America.

Who Said...

If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the mind than having no independent commitment to ideas...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

One N U G

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.