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Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  113 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The story of the twentieth century is largely the story of the power of science and technology. Within that story is the incredible tale of the human conflict between three men-Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller-the scientists most responsible for the advent of weapons of mass destruction. How did science, enlisted in the service of the state during the ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Holt Paperbacks (first published September 9th 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 308)
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Liam
"Teller privately considered Bethe a 'brick maker' among physicists -- thorough, meticulous, but unimaginitive and even a bit pompous. In Oppenheimer, on the other hand, Edward recognized a kindred spirit -- a 'bricklayer,' or synthesizer, who understood the underlying structure." (85)

"In preparations to steal U.S. secrets, [Pavel] Fitin had given his enterprise a code name appropriate to the Manhattan Project: Enormous (Enormoz)." (87)

"Standing next to Lawrence, Teller unnerved onlookers by spe
...more
Daniel
This was a good book to read after finishing Richard Rhodes' "Making of the Atomic Bomb". Herken examines the lives of Ernst Lawrence, Edward Teller, and Robert Oppenheimer in detail, paying special attention to the relationships these men shared amongst themselves and with other individuals. The bomb project itself is mentioned only in context, so readers wanting a closer look at that part of history should look to Rhodes.
H Wesselius
fascinating topic but badly written. At times he attemted to cover too much and other times background information was left to the reader's imagination. His annoying habit of using first names and last names at different times became a major irritant especially when he also used some Soviet code names. The information is there but you need to get past the awful writing and in the end its not worth it.
Pierre Lauzon
The subtitle of the book describes it well – “The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller.” The book discusses at length these individuals at the dawn of the atomic age, their discoveries, and their work to build the first atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project.

The book also goes into depth on the competition between these individuals, the backbiting, and outright slander that was directed at the loyalty of Robert Oppenheimer. The book discusse
...more
Brett
I saw the author discuss this book on a BookTV rerun. I anticipated a deeper exploration of the three main characters and their interaction as was discussed on the TV program. I was disappointed. Focus on government and university politics. The involvment of Hoover and cronies did not add anything.
dejah_thoris
Closer to a 3 star review if you know the history of the atomic bomb but rather confusing nonetheless. Herken likes to focus on the connections between individuals on the project and not the science itself, so you'd better be prepared to not have that described in detail. His switching between first and last names within paragraphs also can be quite confusing as is the extensive cast of characters that he barely introduces before moving onto another development. Lots of FBI and Soviet espionage ...more
Nick Black
The Lawrence profile was pretty solid, although I've read none of Ernest's several biographies. Nothing new here on Oppenheimer or Teller.
Sam
A decent atomic bomb history book. Not the best i've read but, worth reading. This book tried to give some insight into the men behind the bomb rather than the overall picture of the politics or science facts about it. I think it's ambitious and at time I'm sure the author had to fill in some of the blanks as there is only so much documentation in personal diaries and other tertiary sources. Not my favorite books but I've read many books about this subject as it's my strong personal interest in ...more
Kristy
I learned so much from reading this book, especially regarding the personal side of the people involved and how/why each lab came to exist. I definitely recommend this one!

Unfortunately I am horrible at keeping a multitude of characters straight in my mind. To do it again I would make a map of the major players and their affiliations right from the start. I think I would get more out of it that way.
Stormy
A fascinating look at the physicists' relationships -- like brothers they grew up together, collaborated, competed, hated and respected each other. This book gives an excellent summary of events leading to the A bomb, the paranoia of the times and how the Livermore lab became a competitor to Los Alamos..
William
Interesting, but written in too academic a manner. It was very difficult to follow because often people are referred to only by their full name once, then by only surnames. This can be very confusing with so many important players, an alphabet soup of organizations, and a 30-year timeline.
Larry
For anyone who wants to understand how we got in the nuclear mess we are in, this is the book. Science, egos, politics, and the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, is a REALLY bad mixture.
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