There is a difference between war and combat; a distinction made on the most personal of terms in this volume. It is one of the few audiobooks on which I have hit the rewind button in order to hear something a second or a third time. I found Junger's observations about how and why people willingly become "heroes" to be among the most revealing and profound I have ever experienced. The only equivalent experience for me was watching the movie Apocalypse Now for the first time. This story is gritty, bloody, profane, and ultimately, beautiful. One curious note that haunted me throughout this story was drawing parallels to my own father, a WWII and Korean War vet who stayed in the Army continuously from 1939 to 1964. Why on Earth would someone stay in the Army when everyone else was headed for home? In a very large way, this tale explains what had formerly been completely inexplicable...what is the psychic attraction? Why do people fight? And what does it mean when we call someone "a veteran"?
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.
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