With a blinding flash in the New Mexico desert in the summer of 1945, the world was changed forever. The bomb that ushered in the atomic age was the product of one of history's most improbable partnerships. "The General and the Genius" reveals how two extraordinary men pulled off the greatest scientific feat of the twentieth century. Read more...
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Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks$118.00
With a blinding flash in the New Mexico desert in the summer of 1945, the world was changed forever. The bomb that ushered in the atomic age was the product of one of history's most improbable partnerships. "The General and the Genius" reveals how two extraordinary men pulled off the greatest scientific feat of the twentieth century. Leslie Richard Groves of the Army Corps of Engineers, who had made his name by building the Pentagon in record time and under budget, was made overlord of the impossibly vast scientific enterprise known as the Manhattan Project. His mission: to beat the Nazis to the atomic bomb. So he turned to the nation's preeminent theoretical physicist, J. Robert Oppenheimer--the chain-smoking, martini-quaffing son of wealthy Jewish immigrants, whose background was riddled with communist associations--Groves's opposite in nearly every respect. In their three-year collaboration, the iron-willed general and the visionary scientist led a brilliant team in a secret mountaintop lab and built the fearsome weapons that ended the war but introduced the human race to unimaginable new terrors. And at the heart of this most momentous work of World War II is the story of two extraordinary men--the general and the genius.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-11
- Reviewer: Staff
Timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Trinity Test, the detonation of the first atomic bomb, Kunetka shares the story of its development. Having previously written on the subject (1978’s City of Fire and 1981’s Oppenheimer, Year of Risk), Kunetka here uses original records and correspondence to produce a fast-paced recounting of the two and a half year Manhattan Project. He sets this narrative apart by focusing on the relationship between the two key leaders of the project: Gen. Leslie Richard “Dick” Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Los Alamos Laboratory. Groves was from a middle-class family, authoritarian, brusque, and focused on his mission. Oppenheimer was wealthy, charismatic, liberal, and focused on academic understanding. Despite the tremendous pressures of war, these two very different men worked together in relative harmony. Kunetka highlights the unlikeliness of their positive relationship and attributes it to the qualities they shared: both were intelligent, self-aware, patriotic, and capable of prodigious amounts of work. He also simplifies the physics to be understandable to lay readers. This is an entertaining and informative account of a time of great tension, great discovery, and great accomplishment. (July)