Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II

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Simon and Schuster, May 6, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 330 pages
4 Reviews
He rode out the Depression years in high style, and indulged in the hobbies of the fabulously rich. He raced his own America's Cup yacht against the Vanderbilts and Astors, and purchased Hilton Head Island in South Carolina as his private game reserve. Conant writes about the glamour and privilege of his charmed circle as well as Loomis' marriage to a beautiful but depressive wife, whom he sent away for repeated hospitalizations while he pursued a covert affair with his protege's young wife. His bitter divorce scandalized New York society and drove Loomis into near seclusion in East Hampton. At the height of his influence on Wall Street, Loomis abruptly retired and devoted himself purely to science. He turned his Tuxedo Park laboratory into the meeting place for the most visionary minds of the twentieth century: Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, James Franck, Niels Bohr, and Enrico Fermi. With England threatened by invasion, he joined Vannevar Bush, Karl Compton, and the author's grandfather, Harvard president James B. Conant, in mobilizing civilian scientists to defeat Nazi Germany, and personally bankrolled pioneering research into the radar detection systems that ultimately changed the course of World War II. Together with his friend Ernest Lawrence, the Nobel Prize-winning atom smasher, Loomis established a top-secret wartime laboratory at MIT and recruited the most famous names in physics. Through his close ties to his cousin Henry Stimson, who was secretary of war, Loomis was able to push FDR to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to create the advanced radar systems that defeated the German Air Force and deadly U-boats, and then to build the first atomic bomb. One of the greatest scientific generals of World War II, Loomis' legacy exists not only in the development of radar but also in his critical role in speeding the day of victory.

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TUXEDO PARK: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science that Changed the Course of World War II

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

An examination of the remarkable role of the shadowy but powerful "amateur physicist" whose intellect and energy spurred critical scientific research that shortened and helped win WWII.The author ... Read full review

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User Review  - yeremenko - LibraryThing

This is a fascinating topic for a book. Ms. Conant makes the case that Alfred Loomis is an under-rated figure in history. It is hard to argue with the evidence she provides. Certainly this must have ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Patron
Bred in the Bone
The Power Broker
Palace of Science
Cash on the Barrel
Restless Energy
The Big Machine
Echoes of War
The Blitz
Minister Without Portfolio
Last of the Great Amateurs
Alfred L Loomis Scientific Publications
Authors Note on Sources

Precious Cargo

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About the author (2003)

Jennet Conant is the author of Man of the Hour: James B. Conant, Warrior Scientist and the New York Times bestsellers The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington and Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II. She has written for Vanity Fair, Esquire, GQ, Newsweek, and The New York Times. She lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

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