Physicist and polymath, 'father of the atom bomb' J. Robert Oppenheimer became the most famous scientist of his generation. One of the iconic figures of the 20th century and the embodiment of modern scientific man's Faustian compact, Oppenheimer confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. Already a notable young physicist before WWII ...Read MorePhysicist and polymath, 'father of the atom bomb' J. Robert Oppenheimer became the most famous scientist of his generation. One of the iconic figures of the 20th century and the embodiment of modern scientific man's Faustian compact, Oppenheimer confronted the moral consequences of scientific progress. Already a notable young physicist before WWII, during the race to split the atom, 'Oppie' galvanized an extraordinary team of international scientists while keeping the FBI at bay.Years later, haunted by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Oppenheimer became a staunch opponent of plans to develop the hydrogen bomb. It was a battle he was to lose, faced by powerful advocates for massive nuclear profusion. In response, the US Atomic Energy Commission and the FBI worked behind the scenes to have a hearing find that Oppenheimer could not be trusted with America's nuclear secrets."American Prometheus" is a compelling portrait of a brilliant, ambitious and flawed man, and of the major events of the twentieth century. It is at once biography and history, and essential to our understanding of our recent past - and our future choices.Read Less
I read another book entitled, "Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller". This book I did not enjoy, for it was both an American tragedy and an outrage. I didn't want to read the other book. I disposed of both books.
Jun 16, 2007
A great way to get interested in biographies
Among a raft of biographies that depend almost comically on Freudian psychology to draw studies of their characters, this one stands out as mostly avoiding that tool, and still managing to paint a picture of the person rather than of just his accomplishments.
Oppenheimer was very much a victim of the times in which he worked and lived, and the authors also do a very good job of sketching in just enough historical perspective to put Oppenheimer in a "place" historically without drowning readers in events and dates.
Overall, a nice way to break into biography for people new to the genre, because it reads much more like a novel than a textbook. Well deserving of its award-winner status.
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