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)
A demonstration of fate in action....of how every event in our lives shapes
what we will become.....and what should be the shame of an ungrateful nation.
This is an excelent book, you will learn a lot about this man and his life not only the good but also the bad, the only thing i did not like was the narrator.
I am a professional photographer, a motorcyclist, and an avid reader and listener. I enjoy history, business books and
I like this book, it's long and with much detail about a complicated man, a man who could be charming and engaging and at the same time rude and egotistical. Oppenheimer helped shaped much of the ideas of the nuclear age yet in the end, his views differed to much from those in power and he was humiliated by loosing his security clearance and becoming an outsider. Cummings reading was a little dry and the production values were not great as you could often hear when he stopped and started with changes in voice or volume. Good, not great. If I could, I would have given it 2.5 stars.
Audiobooks Make Weed Wacking a Pleasure
This is a really really long audiobook. Very detailed and occasionally repetitive. Did I mention it was really long? The narrator apparently went back and re-recorded most, but not all of his mispronunciations. For example, Lewis Strauss pronounced his name "straws" so the narrator went back and re-recorded every sentence that contained Strauss. The problem is that it sounds like he re-recorded these sentences in his car with a cheap cassette recorder. It's not even obvious that the same narrator made these corrections. Other reviews have mentioned the differences in the audio, and that was charitable. It's really annoying. Yes, there are mispronunciations, like Bhagavad Gita. The audio engineer had no business releasing the audiobook in this condition. And I should mention that the audiobook is really long.
The only disturbing thing about this book is that the audio quality changes every few minutes. As if they cut and pasted segments that were recorded with different settings. It's very distracting.
The book is written like an English class assignment.."write a very long essay about an important american, minimum length 600 pages." If you want to know what kind of underwear he wore, and what his mother had to say about it, and how his fifth-grade teacher influenced him to change it, and what he packed for lunch, listen to this book. I've had this recording a year now, and keep going back to it, because Oppenheimer's story should be fascinating, amazing. But I can't get through it. Socialist/communist parents, brilliant kid, instrumental in managing the development of the atomic bomb for the defense of the US, an outspoken patriot, then ostracized by a reactive element of the US Govt. (remember McCarthy and the red scare?). How could this story be told in such a way as to be so deadly dull? How could his every encounter with key American figures at such a pivotal time in our history be so anesthetic? The author manages.
I really enjoyed this book. It gets a little slow in places where the author develops the history and back story, but overall it was an amazing book.
Fine art photographer, retired English professor, dog mom to an adorable Maltese mix, long-time Californian, genealogist, what else?
I would give this very good book a five-star rating but for the *horrible* editing -- the places where something was re-recorded are so plentiful and so distracting (at some points, literally every other sentence), that it took an effort of will to not hit the "Stop" button. Only my great interest in the subject matter kept me going. The authors do an excellent job of detailing both the elevation and destruction of Oppenheimer as a public figure, and while the narrative is sometimes a bit dry, in the end it is a fascinating -- and infuriating -- story. The lengths people went to, to destroy him, the blatant anti-Semitism of the times -- I'd like to think we're so far beyond that, now, but I fear we're not. It's an excellent book; highly recommended, if you can overlook the editing mess.
4.5 stars, actually. I found it immensely informative history of Robert Oppenheimer and his times in physics. This is a very different perspective on many of his famous contemporaries. Readers might be interested in visiting the first large scale nuclear reactor, the B Reactor, at Hanford, WA. Tours are now available to the public.
Say something about yourself!
Great listen about the arms race to nuclear power and the very interesting man behind it all. A must listen for history fans.
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