The Holy Trinity of science best sellers like Brian Green's "The Elegant Universe or Walter" Issacson's "Einstein: His Life and Universe" has been people, history and science. James Mahaffey's Atomic Awakening breaks this mold with addition of application, interrelation and a point of view.
Mahaffey, a nuclear engineer as well as physicist, gives an extremely readable, no entertaining, history of nuclear physics. He also explains the science better than any other book I've read on physics. Because he shows the interrelation of theory and practice I finally understand Heisenberg's theory of uncertainty and why the key to a nuclear reactor is to slow down, not speed up, the neutrons. That is, if you cannot know with certainty where the Uranium atoms are you have a better chance of hitting one if the added neutrons spend more time in the target area by going slow!
Mahaffey brings the theory to practice without editorializing by comparing the devil we know with the devil we don't know. His well quoted example that if the first use of gasoline was napalm we would all be driving electric cars is dead on. Mahaffey describes the dangers of a nuclear accident, balances that with the cost of non-nuclear alternatives, then leaves the conclusion to the reader.