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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.
American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer... Very good book, about the genius that developed the Bomb.
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.
What makes this so good is the full treatment to the various contexts that enveloped all the participants in the development of the A bomb, and the after effects.Published 12 days ago by James L. Bowditch
An informative read, and I learned much about J. Robert Oppenheimer that I had not known previously. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lillian
He brought the world the nuclear bomb and regretted it. We are living with his genius.Published 1 month ago by Carolyn J. Rhondeau
Great thought provoking book that makes you revisit what you thought you knew about the birth of the atomic age, and also face the behaviors allowed during the height of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer