'Acclaimed as a genius, reviled as a madman, Edward Teller refuses to be ignored.....Curiosity will impel even his harshest critics into these memoirs, where both his powerful intellect and his imperious ego are on full display.'
Edward Teller is perhaps best known for his belief in freedom through strong defense. But this extraordinary memoir at last reveals the man behind the headlines--passionate and humorous, devoted and loyal. Never before has Teller told his story as fully as he does here. We learn his true position on everything from the bombing of Japan to the pursuit of weapons research in the post-war years. In clear and compelling prose, Teller chronicles the people and events that shaped him as a scientist, beginning with his early love of music and math, and continuing with his study of quantum physics under Werner Heisenberg. He also describes his relationships with some of the century's greatest minds--Einstein, Bohr, Fermi, Szilard, von Neumann--and offers an honest assessment of the development of the atomic and hydrogen bombs, the founding of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, and his complicated relationship with J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Rich and humanizing, this candid memoir describes the events that led Edward Teller to be honored or abhorred, and provides a fascinating perspective on the ability of a single individual to affect the course of history.
DESCRIBING WHAT I have been up to since January 15, 1908, or rather, describing the fraction I can remember, is neither simple nor straightforward. Our memories are selective; they delete some events and magnify others. Just the simple act of recalling the past affects the recollection of what happened. That some of my remembrances are not the commonly accepted version of events should not be surprising.
Describing those events-and the people who had a hand in making me the person I turned out to be-is even more difficult. We do not easily recognize what shapes us most deeply, and the results of introspection are even less reliable than memory. Anyone optimistic enough to try to understand peoplethe most complicated entities in the known universe-is entering a morass.
Writing the first five chapters of this book was especially hard. It was like remembering someone I once knew, a person who no longer exists. 1 felt as I did in 1933, when I wrote a poem called "Air ...
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