Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 2006
National Book Critics Circle Award, Biography, 2006
J. Robert Oppenheimer is one of the iconic figures of the 20th century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress.
When he proposed international controls over atomic materials, opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb, and criticized plans for a nuclear war, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup during the anti-Communist hysteria of the early 1950s. They declared that Oppenheimer could not be trusted with America's nuclear secrets.
In this magisterial biography, 25 years in the making, the authors capture Oppenheimer's life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War.
©2005 Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio Inc.
"The definitive biography...Oppenheimer's life doesn't influence us. It haunts us." (Newsweek)
"[A] profoundly fascinating, richly complex, and ineffably sad American life.... Bird and Sherwin are without peer...in capturing the humanity of the man." (Booklist)
"A work of voluminous scholarship and lucid insight, unifying its multifaceted portrait with a keen grasp of Oppenheimer's essential nature.... It succeeds in deeply fathoming his most damaging, self-contradictory behavior." (New York Times)
I would not have left a review, but at a certain point I simply had to say something. As a professional in the field of history, intimately involved with this subject matter, I am stunned at the lack of research that went into this production. Names are comically mispronounced as if there was no effort at all to research the topic. Beyond that, it is a patchwork production lacking even the most basic audio editing skills. The edits are frequent and absurdly distracting.
Watch out for such gems as the mispronounciation of Eugene Wigner, Vanivar Bush (Van-IH-veer!) and perhaps most shockingly, the Nobel Prize Winner Aage Bohr (Ah-wah...seriously?) It's as if this was recorded as a C- level undergraduate project.
Yes, it's a fascinating story. I'm a sucker for anything atomic bomb related, but Oppenheimer's story is particularly tragic. The guy who brought everyone together, ran the atomic bomb project gets his security clearance revoked less than a decade later in a humiliating show trial.
I would have liked to have heard more about Frank Oppenheimer.
It's not the PERFORMANCE that lacks, it's the editing. Especially names, they're edited with all the style and grace of an outgoing voicemail message. Something something something..........Victor Weisskopf.........yadda yadda yadda. The edits aren't even EQed the same.
No I felt it was a little long winded.
His childhood and the story of the Manahattan Project.
To much information for me.
the editing was very distracting - sounded like they made the abridged version and inserted parts left out at a later date for the unabridged. I could even hear the narrator swallowing and clearing his throat.
Narration itself was fine, but the sound quality of the recordings was uneven.
I was angered by the political railroading of am entire group of scientists by small minded politicians.
A great book; excellent personal portrait, long on legal, shorter than hoped on science; fleshes out a complex, complicated man and his times. One the best biographies I've read.
The tale of Oppenheimer displays America's politically and socially unique strengths and weaknesses - acceptance; bigotry; hypocrisy; corrupt, greedy, insincere, and ignorant politicians - in lively, entirely plausible detail.
J. Robert Oppenheimer, at once brilliant but flustered under pressure; socially accepting and simultaneously aloof and haughty; globally farsighted but unable to perceive his own self-inflicted immediate personal peril.
Dispassionate but captivating
Elevated to great heights by the country he loved, only to be shunned by it from it by the bigoted and corrupt forces who came to control it.
Terrible patching-in of acoustically different bits of sentences or sections make it seem as if in some places parts were carelessly changed in ways that disrupt thought. Some characters' names are mispronounced until hours later when the correct pronunciation is pointed out but left unchanged in earlier misreadings. Some major sections have barely a second a second or two's pause from the previous one - a sign of thoughtless or careless production that makes the section break seem less meaningful than a chapter pause.
Only if you like heavy bios
Make a big bomb.. Not really
Only if you like heavy bios
Got 15 hours in And still talking about his early years with girlfriend
This is an outstanding biography of a fascinating historical figure. But the narrator can't seem to pronounce foreign words (there are a lot of them; Oppenheimer was a cosmopolitan guy who spoke multiple languages), and there are awkward patches in the audio where pronunciations obviously had to be fixed. It's annoying.
The audio recording was broken, often changing from one "recording session" to another mid-sentence. The quality was very poor and distracted from the overall enjoyment of the book.
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