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By the time the story reaches Oppenheimer's fateful Manhattan Project work, readers have been swept along much as the project's young physicists were by fate and enormous pressure. The authors allow the scientists to speak for themselves about their reactions to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, avoiding any sort of preacherly tone while revealing the utter, horrible ambiguity of the situation. For instance, Oppenheimer wrote in a letter to a friend, "The thing had to be done," then, "Circumstances are heavy with misgiving."
Many biographies of Oppenheimer end here, with the seeds of his later pacifism sown and the dangers of mixing science with politics clearly outlined. But Bird and Sherwin devote the second half of this hefty book to what happened to Oppenheimer after the bomb. For a short time, he was lionized as the ultimate patriot by a victorious nation, but things soured as the Cold War crept forward and anti-communist witchhunts focused paranoia and anti-Semitism onto Oppenheimer, destroying his career and disillusioning him about his life's work. Devastated by the atom bomb's legacy of fear, he became a vocal and passionate opponent of the Strangelovian madness that gripped the world because of the weapons he helped develop.
Twenty-five years of research went into creating American Prometheus, and there has never been a more honest and complete biography of this tragic scientific giant. The many great ironies of Oppenheimer's life are revealed through the careful reconstruction of a wealth of records, conversations, and ideas, leaving the clearest picture yet of his life. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The book is beautifully written and remarkably easy to read.
Hopefully, someone will have the courage to come along one day to reveal to us how mad but also how great this man truly was.
This book is engaging and very successful at portraying the life character and personality of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Very pleased with this book. Extremely informative and interesting readPublished 1 day ago by Richard J. Sarni
This book is a masterpiece discussing Oppenheimer's life and the historical events which occurred at the time. The research is amazing as well as the writing style.Published 3 days ago by Janet Weiner
The story of Robert Oppenheimer as told by Kai Bird is a fantastic book. There is nothing better in a biography when it is well written, has an interesting person that it profiles,... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Robert Sparrenberger
Very interesting and surprisingly easy read.... I had been afraid my lack of science background would be a problem but not so.Published 20 days ago by susuandmo
very informative,and interesting.It shows that even democracy can be corrupt when it comes to justice.Published 26 days ago by Martin Weiss
Very interesting - repetitive, but cumulative effect makes forgetting difficult.Published 29 days ago by Marilyn M.
This the first book I read on Oppenheimer. Is quite thorough and with some reference to other writers. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ting S. Luk