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J. Robert Oppenheimer: Shatterer of Worlds Paperback – September, 1985

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 301 pages
  • Publisher: Fromm Intl (September 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880640219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880640213
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,824,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
For those interested in the history of the atomic bomb, I strongly recommend this book. After reading Richard Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb", I was curious to read more about Oppenheimer and this book satisfied that yen.
Goodchild's book is relatively thorough and moves quickly. I think his view of Oppenheimer is generally sympathetic and he does a nice job of showing how Oppenheimer managed the a-bomb project and kept abreast of each development in a number of then ground-breaking scientific achievements. And in a People Magazine fashion, the information about the various egos involved also made for interesting reading. This book was written for the layperson. The amount of technical information presented is limited and well-presented.
It would have been nice to have just a little more detail on the Oppenheimer trial, but was there was well-done.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Caroline Perez on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
J. Robert Oppenheimer: Shatter of Worlds is a revolutionary biography that details the most important aspects of Robert Oppenheimer's life and accomplishments as a physicist and creator of a key bridge between government and science. Detailing his influences and inspirations such as Max Born and renowned scientist Albert Einstein, Peter Goodchild outlines Oppenheimer's political struggles as a far-leftist and his personal struggles with the aftermath of the creation of the atom bomb and the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II while simultaneously describing the challenges that his theories in physics raised to the prevalent world view of that time. He is exquisite in providing Oppenheimer with a simple but thorough recount of his life that showcases his accomplishments and influences when other biographies focused on his political associations and the charges of treason that arose during the Cold War. This biography is a profound piece of writing that is easy to follow and understand and will touch you personally as you trace the journey of a troubled and intelligent man from his early days to the peak of physics and science.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By sem on March 31, 2005
Format: Paperback
J. Robert Oppenheimer lead the project at Los Alamos to develop the first atomic bomb, struggled through accusations of being a communist sympathizer, and dealt with the guilt of having created such a terrible device. Peter Goodchild, who also wrote a seven part TV miniseries of Oppenheimer for the BBC, uses newly declassified interviews and pictures from the period in the book to offer a look at what Oppenheimer saw, sensed, and said. Not merely a biography of Oppenheimer, the book goes into great detail of the Los Alamos laboratories which developed the atomic bomb. Illustrations teach some of the basic physics that went into the project without any overwhelming equations or math that could have bored some readers. The book also excellently captures the struggle of the trial against Oppenheimer and the mood of the McCarthy red scare. Throughout the book, America clearly progresses as the characters deal with resistance to change and the after effects of Oppenheimer's work. Unlike many biographies where people simply enter and then leave a person's life, people identified in the first chapter keep coming back, creating a fiction-like web that is compelling to read. I couldn't tear myself away from the pages leading up to the first atomic test because Goodchild's suspenseful writing makes plain nonfiction read like a carefully crafted and extremely compelling story.

The book tells of the man, the physics, and the times.
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