American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
“American Prometheus” is the definitive biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, hailed as the “father of the atomic bomb.” This physicist’s monumental achievement in harnessing the sun’s fierce power during wartime propelled him to unparalleled fame post-Hiroshima, marking him as an iconic twentieth-century figure grappling with the profound implications of his own creation.
Oppenheimer was more than just a scientist; he was an advocate for global controls over atomic materials, a stance that remains significant today. He publicly resisted the hydrogen bomb’s development and was critical of potential nuclear war strategies. Such positions made him a controversial figure in the early 1950s, leading influential figures, including the Atomic Energy Commission’s chairman and the FBI director, to question his loyalty.
Drawing from extensive research, including archives globally, vast FBI files, and numerous interviews, “American Prometheus” chronicles Oppenheimer’s life journey. From his New York education and his time in Europe studying quantum physics, to his significant role in Berkeley advocating social justice, and his transformative leadership in Los Alamos creating a nuclear powerhouse. His story culminates at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
This work captures the essence of a driven, multifaceted individual set against the backdrop of pivotal moments like the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. Both a riveting biography and a reflection on America’s mid-century landscape, “American Prometheus” is crucial for anyone keen on understanding recent history and the decisions shaping our future.
Specification: American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer