We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access .
American Prometheus Audiobook

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

Regular Price:$34.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1550 )
5 star
 (743)
4 star
 (541)
3 star
 (195)
2 star
 (46)
1 star
 (25)
Overall
4.3 (1090 )
5 star
 (599)
4 star
 (326)
3 star
 (118)
2 star
 (35)
1 star
 (12)
Story
4.0 (1081 )
5 star
 (458)
4 star
 (349)
3 star
 (178)
2 star
 (61)
1 star
 (35)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Travis ROME, NY, United States 05-09-15
    Travis ROME, NY, United States 05-09-15 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    26
    10
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too much"

    There was a lot of good and interesting information but that last half seemed to be a ton of filler; endless FBI wire taps.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John M Jackson 04-17-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    55
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not that interesting a life"

    Oppenheimer simply isn't that interesting of an individual. This books looks more at his actions and very little at his motivations or thoughts. The post-war section may be of interest to those who enjoy Cold War politics. Also, the recording quality is sub par.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    martin krsak 03-25-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    17
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Poor recording quality."

    Poor recording quality. Stop forcing people to write a certain number of words in the review in order to submit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark U. 03-02-15
    Mark U. 03-02-15 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    101
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A very interesting segment of American history."

    It sad that this man had endure so much pressure in his professional and personal life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave LAKEWOOD, CO, United States 10-14-14
    Dave LAKEWOOD, CO, United States 10-14-14 Listener Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of my best Audible books"
    Would you listen to American Prometheus again? Why?

    Yes - great story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Oppenheimer - probably the most interesting and complex character I've met.


    What about Jeff Cummings’s performance did you like?

    Good pace and consistent voice quality.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No -too long.


    Any additional comments?

    This is long listen. But well worth it. Was there ever a more interesting man than J. R. Oppenheimer? Talk about living life to the fullest. Truly great books can be enjoyed at many levels and this book is no exception. And the big ideas in the great books are timeless. As I listened to this story - I couldn't help reflecting on todays scientists fighting with their government over the environment and more recently, national security, surveillance and personal privacy. Many years after his death - Oppenheimer appears to have been vindicated on nuclear defense strategy. This book left me wondering - can we and our government learn to tolerate a genius like Oppenheimer when his political thought and lifestyle is not mainstream? A great listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Mckinstry Chesterfield, MO 10-12-14
    R. Mckinstry Chesterfield, MO 10-12-14 Member Since 2011

    MIR Rad

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    101
    5
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent book. Weak audio production."
    What aspect of Jeff Cummings’s performance would you have changed?

    The production quality was below average. His narration was fine but audio dubbing was obvious. Sound quality of the dubs was poor. It's not his faulty but the production sounded amateurish.


    Any additional comments?

    It's definitely worth listening to despite the production faults.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant Torrance, CA, United States 10-06-14
    Grant Torrance, CA, United States 10-06-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    113
    33
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Production Value was HORRIBLE"

    A bit dry - go for the Abridged version. The story was interesting but it got a little deep into some of the details of the science of creating the A-Bomb. However, my biggest issue was with the production value of this book. It sounded like it was pieced together from hundreds of readings. Sometimes one sentence would sound like it was a completely different studio and was inserted way after the fact. VERY distracting and beneath what I have come to believe is a high quality product in Audible. They need to redo this entire production in my opinion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald J. Kinney Boston, Massachusetts 09-24-14
    Donald J. Kinney Boston, Massachusetts 09-24-14 Member Since 2013

    DJ

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Shocking Mispronunciations and Amateur Production"
    What didn’t you like about Jeff Cummings’s performance?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph P. 08-22-14
    Joseph P. 08-22-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic book..."
    Would you listen to American Prometheus again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I would have liked to have heard more about Frank Oppenheimer.


    What aspect of Jeff Cummings’s performance would you have changed?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Warren 08-17-14
    Warren 08-17-14 Member Since 2011

    Workout Listener!

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A little long"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No I felt it was a little long winded.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    His childhood and the story of the Manahattan Project.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    To much information for me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.