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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life and loves of the man who patented atomic energy
Leo Szilard's life is traced from his early childhood in Budapest, Hungary through his student days in Berlin; and the development of the first atomic reactor and bomb. Dealing openly with Szilard's ambitions, obsessions, and fears the book delves into the intriguing details of his intensely adventurous life. For example, the very day in 1933 Adolf Hitler became...
Published on April 27, 1997

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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best book ...
OK if you want to learn something about Szilard, but pretty boring. Took me 6 months to get through it ...
Published 19 months ago by M. Macala


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life and loves of the man who patented atomic energy, April 27, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb (Paperback)
Leo Szilard's life is traced from his early childhood in Budapest, Hungary through his student days in Berlin; and the development of the first atomic reactor and bomb. Dealing openly with Szilard's ambitions, obsessions, and fears the book delves into the intriguing details of his intensely adventurous life. For example, the very day in 1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor, Szilard caught the last train out of Germany; saving his worldly possessions and himself from the hands of the Nazis. Szilard's pluck is revealed when in England, not having access to a laboratory, he borrows equipment and performs perhaps the first nuclear physics chain reaction experiments in his hotel room! Throughout the details of his evolving atomic theories and practical inventions is woven his love life. Because of his genius, vision, and high human values, Szilard is always regarded with suspicion; especially by the American military bureaucracy. Indeed, General Grove who oversees the United States atomic bomb project has it in for Szilard; and even tries to get him deported as an undesireable alien. This is the story of the man who not only ushered in atomic power into the 20th Century but maintained his individuality while doing so. A somewhat sad love story is woven through the fascinating history of Szilard's atomic power. Many classic photographs of Szilard at important and personal events accompany the very well organized text. Although not a literary masterpiece, this book is a biographical masterpiece and should be read by scholars and romantics alike
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Portrait of a Catalytic Genius, January 30, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb (Paperback)
Anyone interested in Szilard, early 20th Century World History, the A-Bomb, or all of the above will find this book hard to put down. This biography is comprehensive, well-researched and properly kind to its subject. Dr. Szilard probably will never get enough credit for his genius and all his great ideas and achievements, but this book does him justice. He seems to come alive in this book, always several steps ahead of everyone else.
American culture's emphasis on individualism often ignores the more collaborative contributions such as Dr. Szilard's. An original, he both created and collaborated, and this book tells his story.
At times, I thought the author might have been over-stating some of Dr. Szilard's accompishments, but the story is otherwise well-done, and frankly, Dr. Szilard deserves a little promotion, so I didn't mind.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Never Destroy What You Cannot Create", May 23, 2003
"Never destroy what you cannot create" was one of Leo Szliard's codes of conduct. Books about unsung heros' of the scientific age are almost like novels. Nevertheless, great men seem to rise above dry biography if they had some esoteric ways. We have all read stacks of magazines and books about Albert Einstein to probe into all the details of what made him tick (in relative time, of course). Leo Szliard was a mental gypsy from the old world who saw the new world before most of the other "famous" thinkers of the 20th Century even opened their eyes. A must read for a knowledge foundation in enjoying the lifestyles of the Wise and Unusual.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what a popular biography of a physicist should be., December 29, 1995
By A Customer
Leo is one of my ultimate heros, and Bill Lanouette has
done what is in my mind, the perfect popular bio of a rocket
scientist. Knowing Leo's peripitatic life style, I can
only imagine the horrific amount of time and cunning it
took the author to get his research. Few books I go back
to more often, just for pure pleasure. And I met Leo when
I was but a wee sprout. Please. Don't miss this one.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the best book ..., May 12, 2013
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OK if you want to learn something about Szilard, but pretty boring. Took me 6 months to get through it ...
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Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb
Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb by William Lanouette (Paperback - December 1, 1994)
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