American Prometheus: Book summary and reviews of American Prometheus by Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin

American Prometheus

The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

By Kai Bird, Martin J. Sherwin

American Prometheus
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2005,
    736 pages.

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Book Summary

American Prometheus is the first full-scale biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, “father of the atomic bomb,” the brilliant, charismatic physicist who led the effort to capture the awesome fire of the sun for his country in time of war. Immediately after Hiroshima, he became the most famous scientist of his generation–one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, the embodiment of modern man confronting the consequences of scientific progress.

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Book Awards

  • award image National Book Critics Circle Award, 2005
  • award image Pulitzer Prize for Letters, Drama and Music, 2006

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [Gives] human complexity to a man who had been both elevated and demonized." - PW

"[W]ith so many other biographies available, not to mention histories of the Manhattan Project, it provides little new information here." - Library Journal

"One of the best scientific biographies to appear in recent years." - Kirkus

"Even though this is lengthy and detailed, as good biography must be, the authors have made it quite readable. " - KLIATT

"American Prometheus is a work of voluminous scholarship and lucid insight, unifying its multifaceted portrait with a keen grasp of Oppenheimer's essential nature." - New York Times

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