A narrative based on newly declassified government documents and in-depth interviews describes the years during which scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and a group of scientists worked to prevent rivals from building more dangerous nuclear weapons only to become the victims of a McCarthy-era conspiracy. 40,000 first printing.
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"Priscilla McMillan has brought us a superb and fascinating book -- a page-turner that illuminates unseen dimensions of one of the most controversial American stories of the twentieth century. THE RUIN OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER has much to teach us not only about science, politics and the Cold War, but also about universal human issues like friendship, ambition and justice."
-- Michael Beschloss
"Filled with fresh revelations, Priscilla McMillan's long-awaited new book is by far the best--the most accurate and detailed--account yet to be written of the deliberate campaign to destroy Robert Oppenheimer and elevate Edward Teller nefariously to power, a campaign that initiated the dangerous nuclear arms race that plagued the world for fifty years."
"On one level, this is a terrific biography of the giant who made the bomb reduced to a discredited, tragic figure by the early perversions of the Cold War. On another level, it's a history of that period in American history when the US suddenly realized that it was vulnerable to the communist nuclear threat. For anyone interested in biography and history, you can't do better than Johnson's treatment of Oppenheimer."
"Priscilla McMillan abundantly possesses all that was in such short supply during the spring of 1954 in Washington: thoroughness; clarity; common sense; human sympathy. The author's propulsive storytelling skills made her earlier work, MARINA AND LEE, the single best book ever written on the Kennedy assassination; she remains a master of narrative as she guides a reader through the legal, moral and scientific thickets of her latest subject. THE RUIN OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER earns a place on the list of books essential to understanding what Communism and the Cold War did to all of us."
"An epochal American story superbly told. Drawing from a lifetime of experience and study, Priscilla McMillan has brought fresh insight, assiduous spadework, narrative skill, and a keen eye for the brilliance, folly, and tragedy of the extraodinary cast of characters, most of all J. Robert Oppenheimer himself, a protagonist in the defeat of Japan, the dawn of the nuclear age, the origins of the cold war, and the darkest days of McCarthyism. A book worthy of its momentous subject -- and worth waiting for."
Priscilla Johnson McMillan is an associate of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard and the author of the bestselling Marina and Lee. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, HarperÂ’s Magazine, and Scientific American, among other places.
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