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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.
I liked this book so much that I would read it again and recommend it to others as well. Anyone who is a student of WWII, physics and the sciences, or just plain likes a good... Read morePublished 1 day ago by wooden leg
A wonderful look into the genius of this person.
A great read.
Fascinating. Oppenheimer revealed as a tragic and triumphant figure. The book is extremely interesting because of it's accurate historical investigation.Published 4 days ago by judy walsh
The essential idea in the reply which Krishna offered to Arjuna was
that through the discharge of the duties of one’s station without
thought of fruit one was on the way... Read more
Superb book about Oppenheimer and the development of the Atomic Bomb. What a fascinating person! The tragic ending of a brilliant career of really sad to me. Read morePublished 13 days ago by SusieQ
Well-written and, seemingly, well-researched biography. If one is interested in the period and personalities, as I am, top-notch.Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
The parts about Oppenheimer's early life, his rise to prominence, and the Manhattan project were riveting and well told. I give those parts five stars. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer