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Memoirs Hardcover – January 22, 1995

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Hardcover, January 22, 1995
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Sakharov was at once the brilliant physicist who created the hydrogen bomb and the humanitarian who won the Nobel Peace Prize. With his death last December, these Memoirs become timely testimony to his life, particularly his development, his motivations, and the influences shaping his actions. His account of Soviet nuclear testing and life among the privileged but closeted nuclear research community is compelling. Once he'd witnessed the biological effects of radiation, Sakharov changed the course of his life, and he details his several decades as a champion of Soviet human rights and world peace. His memoirs conclude with his release from a lengthy exile in Gorky in 1986, but Sakharov lived beyond this to see many of his convictions sanctioned through glasnost. Recommended for all libraries.
- Rena Fowler, Northern Michigan Univ., Marquette
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Destined to take its place as one of the great testaments to human freedom in this or any age...a complex and brilliant blend of personal history, scientific insight,
and a lesson in uncommon moral development."--The San Francisco Chronicle


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing (January 22, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517137658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517137659
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,220,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on January 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (1921-1989) was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist, who helped design the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons, but was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975. He was arrested in 1980 following his public protests against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, and sent to "internal exile" for six years. He wrote in the Preface to this 1990 book, "I hope that my memoirs will appeal to a fairly wide audience because of the extraordinary turns my life has taken: work at a munitions factory during the war, my career in theoretical physics, twenty years developing thermonuclear weapons in a secret city... research on controlled fusion, my statements on public issues, my activities in defense of human rights, the authorities' persecution of myself and my family, exile to Gorky, the years spent in isolation there, and my return to Moscow in the era of perestroika." (Pg. xx)

He states early on, "Today, deep in my heart, I do not know where I stand on religion. I don't believe in any dogma and I dislike official churches... yet I am unable to imagine the universe and human life without some guiding principle, without a source of spiritual 'warmth' that is nonmaterial and not bound by physical laws. Probably this sense of things could be called 'religious.'" (Pg. 4)

He suggests, "I now believe that the design developed by the Zeldovich group for a hydrogen bomb was directly inspired by information acquired through espionage. However, I have no proof of this." (Pg. 94) He recalls that after a nuclear test in 1955, "I worried more and more about the biological effects of nuclear tests... The long-term biological consequences of nuclear testing... can be predicted...
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By YBG on December 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Well written, well organized, definitely learn more than you never wanted to know or imagine could happen in modern society.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book some time ago now, but the recent BBC adaptation of Grossman's Life and Fate (which I've not read yet) brought it back to mind.

I'm not a physicist but I worked in a non-scientific capacity at CERN for a couple of years, hence my interest.

The history that this book uncovers, and the dispassionate integrity of its author, makes it to my mind one of the most important books I have ever read. I knew almost nothing of Stalinism when I read it; so it shocked me to the core. It was like looking at an upside-down topsy-turvy world.

In his childhood the arts were seen as deeply threatening - playing a piano sonata could have you 'disappeared'. In adulthood, one of his sweetest moments was the simple act of toasting his wife with a glass of coca-cola.

It's interesting to read this book, and then lift one's eyes back to the Britain we live in today.... what do you see?
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