A Life in Twilight: The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer

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St. Martin's Press, Nov 11, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages

A Life in Twilight reveals the least-known and most enigmatic period of J. Robert Oppenheimer's life, from the public humiliation he endured after the 1954 Atomic Energy Commission's investigation into his alleged communist leanings and connections to his death in 1967. It covers Oppenheimer's continued work as a scientist and philosopher and head of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, his often controversial public appearances, as well as parts of his private life.

What emerges is a portrait of a man who was toppled from the highest echelons of politics and society, had to see his honor and name blackened, but succeeded in maintaining his dignity and rebuilding a shattered life, although he never truly recovered from the McCarthy-inspired persecution he suffered. Previously unpublished FBI files round out the picture and cast a sinister cloud over Oppenheimer's final years, during which he remained under occasional surveillance.

Mark Wolverton has succeeded in presenting an evenhanded and very well- researched account of a life that ended in twilight. It reads like a written version of the acclaimed film Good Night, and Good Luck, and indeed Murrow's interview with Oppenheimer is one of the central elements of the story.

A Life in Twilight is an important exploration, not only of a prominent scientist and philosopher, but also of an unforgettable era in American history.


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A LIFE IN TWILIGHT: The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer

User Review  - Kirkus

The nuclear physicist's busy and not terribly melancholy life after his humiliating security-clearance hearing in 1954.A national icon after World War II, extolled as father of the atomic bomb ... Read full review

A life in twilight: the final years of J. Robert Oppenheimer

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Science writer Wolverton (The Depths of Space; The Science of Superman) brings sensitivity, insight, and convincing research to this attempt at encompassing the last 13 years of J. Robert Oppenheimer ... Read full review


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About the author (2008)

Mark Wolverton is the author of The Depths of Space and The Science of Superman. His articles on science, technology, and history have appeared in Scientific American, American Heritage of Invention & Technology, Air & Space Smithsonian, Skeptical Inquirer, Quest, and American History, among other magazines. He is also an accomplished dramatist and lives near Philadelphia.

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