The ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the birth of the modern arms race
On April 12, 1954, the nation was astonished to learn that scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer faced charges of violating national security. Why had the charismatic leader of the Manhattan ProjectÂ— the man who led the team that developed the atomic bomb that ended World War IIÂ—been cast into overnight disgrace? In this riveting narrative, bestselling author Priscilla J. McMillan draws on newly declassified U.S. government documents and materials from Russia, as well as in-depth interviews, to present the truth about the downfall of AmericaÂ's most famous scientist.
McMillan re-creates the fraught years from 1949 to 1955 when Oppenheimer and a group of liberal scientists tried to head off the cabal of hard-line air force officials, anti-Communist politicians, and rival scientistsÂ—including Edward TellerÂ—who were trying to seize control of U.S. policy and build ever more deadly nuclear weapons. The conspiracy to discredit Oppenheimer, occurring at the height of the McCarthy era and sanctioned by a misinformed President Eisenhower, was a watershed in the cold war, poisoning American politics for decades and creating dangers that haunt us today.
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The ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer: and the birth of the modern arms raceUser Review - Book Verdict
It's always been profitable to mention Darwin and Einstein in popular science titles. Judging by the renewed interest in his career, Oppenheimer's name might be added to that list. This book by McMillan (associate, Davis Ctr. for Russian & Eurasian Studies, Harvard Univ.) is less about him than about the political climate between 1945 and 1954, as America and the Soviet Union engaged in an escalating and perhaps paranoid nuclear arms race. Oppenheimer is central, but by no means the only player--Edward Teller (Oppenheimer's rival), FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and Presidents Eisenhower and Truman all make appearances. There is little here that other Oppenheimer biographies or histories of the era have not already covered. (See, for example, Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin's American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer or Richard Rhodes's Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb .) What distinguishes this book is its more interpretive approach; at times the author's statements seem value-laden and thus might be questioned. Still, those interpretations make for an engaging work. An optional purchase for academic and larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/05.]--Gregg Sapp, Science Lib., SUNY at Albany
Review: The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer & the Birth of the Modern Arms RaceUser Review - Goodreads
Great book, well researched. Depressing for its revealing of how people can be railroaded, misrepresented, and ruined by petty people looking for vengeance, and by the feds.
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The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the Birth of the Modern Arms Race
Priscilla Johnson McMillan
No preview available - 2005