This book is very well written and read.
+ Even though there are two authors the story is consistent and you don't style differences as you go through the book.
+ There is a lot of intrigue in Oppenheimer's life and this book captures it well. You get a close up look at how powerful people abused their power to ruin Oppenheimer.
professor. like great and VERY good books, fiction and history, mainly
A masterful account of one of history's most portentous moments, experienced through the life of a great genius whose complicity in evil (the bomb) eats at him as the eagle does the liver of Prometheus.
...big annoyance: the reader seems to have made no attempt whatsoever to learn to pronounce any unusual names or foreign terms. He butchers names of quite famous people - Lewis Strauss pronounced his last name [straws], not to rhyme with 'house.' I.I. Rabi said [RAY-bee] (rhymes with 'maybe,' not [RAW-bee]). Vannevar Bush's first name rhymed with 'receiver.' Niebuhr is [NEE-burh], not [NAI-burh]. Fermi is [FAIR-mi]; Kantorowicz, well, it's closer to [kan-tuh-RO-vits] than to what the narrator says - it took me a minute to figure out whom he was referring to.
The word 'hauteur' isn't [o-TYOOR]. Forget about 'Bhagavad Gita' - he adds an extra syllable. The list could go on.
This is a very important book, I think; shouldn't the producer of the audio version be scrupulous about presenting it faithfully?
Well-told story (it starts slow but stick with it) of a remarkable man and time. Oppenheimer was a man of many parts: supremely gifted intellect, who could be arrogant as well as kind (he frequently gave unnecessary offense to colleagues and superiors who could do him serious harm but was a great mentor to most of his students); superbly effective director of the Los Alamos project, which insured that the US had atomic weapons before Hitler did; naive fellow traveler with Communist organizations who failed to report properly a 1943 attempt by the Soviet consulate in San Francisco to enlist his help in an espionage ring; after 1945 an idealistic proponent of international control of atomic weapons; critic of the idea that nuclear supremacy was a policy that assured real security to the US once our adversary also had nuclear weapons; a martyr who was smeared and humiliated in 1954 by a patently unfair and improper AEC "security hearing" orchestrated by AEC Chairman Lewis Strauss, who opposed Oppenheimer's views on nuclear policy.
Much to learn in the book about American attitudes toward the Communist Party in the 30's, 40's and 50's. Also a fascinating account of the early policy debates over the implications for national security of nuclear weapons. That debate still resonates today as we confront the challenge of keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists who have no stake in preserving civilization as we know it.
Business Physicist and Astronomer
Sometimes the government of the US conducts itself very shamefully. This is one such case among many from the founding myths to slavery to civil rights to native American slaughter to environmental rape.
You can add this story to the ever growing list of crap pulled by the US government.
Incredible story from start to finish---better than a novel. Truth truly is stranger than fiction...
It may be one of those books I need to read on paper. This narrator is just awful.
His mispronunciations and outright mistakes make the writers sound stupid, but I can't believe that they are. Whenever he's quoting "important" scientists, he puts on this weird mincing voice, as if fame turns people into drag queens. I wish there was a way to get my credits back on this one. I don't blame the narrator. He'd probably be great with children's books. My question: Why wouldn't the publisher pick an educated, professional narrator for subject matter like this?
I agree with other reviewers who have quipped OK if you have patience. By midway through the book it was drudgery to keep going. I hung in there and in the end, found it to be only barely worth my time. My biggest disappointment was that this is a book about Oppie's political trials and tribulations; not about science. Even in retrospect I find it astounding that someone can write such a detailed account of Oppenheimer's life and say so little about the heart of the man's life...which was science. What you do get in full measure is intricate descriptions of who was meeting whom during which FBI wiretap and who testified against whom to save their owns skins. Thus, this was a book about personalities; not about the world-changing events that marked Oppie's life. A non-scientist with an interest in the McCarthy era may well enjoy this book thoroughly. But I, alas, did not.
50yrs old / audible member for 5 yrs library. 75% nonfiction, 15% classics and 10% fiction. History/Science/biography/Eng.18th cent fiction
I Have to admit that I stalled on this for awhile, but was ampaly rewarded for returning to this listen and finishing. What a story! what a man! A remarkable book in the end. I would label this REQUIRED READING for the history revealed from many different critical points. Aspects of this book still haunt me. A very well researched, revealing and rewarding read. Well written and narrated
Being a fan of 20th Century history this book was for the most part enjoyable. It gave good insight into Oppenheimer including his background, passions, and the incongruities of his life. It did go into too much detail in a lot of areas, especially in the investigation into his communist ties. I also did not like how the book alluded to the use of the atomic bomb not being necessary to end the Second World War. The Japanese were badly beaten but it still would have taken a lot of lives on both sides to bring the war to a conclusion. Just read the book "Unbroken" to get an understanding of culture and mentality of the enemy we faced at the time. Surrender was the ultimate disgrace and it took the dropping of the atomic bombs to shock them to the point where they would surrender.
26+ hours that went by like *that*. I loved this audiobook.
The narration was very good, but as pointed out by others there are many edits where it's clear they've inserted a patched portion of audio. In some points there is a near constant stream of these patched sections and I found it distracting. There is also a fairly boring stretch (for me, at least) that lasts for perhaps 3 hours just prior to Los Alamos, but overall this is well worth the read.
The focus of the book is the anti-communist witch-hunt (and personal vendetta) carried out against Oppenheimer. There is very little technical information about the building of the atomic bomb, but this did not detract from the fascinating story of his life. By the end of the book, when they get to his security hearing for the Automatic Energy Commission (his "trial" for communist connections), I was transfixed and could not shut this thing off. The testimony given in support of Oppenheimer during the trial was in some cases very moving.
It is a balanced and fair portrait, I feel. I knew nothing about Oppenheimer before reading this account, and I now I feel I know him very well indeed both the good and the bad. First rate biography.