I finished this and thought it was very good, maybe quite simply because Marie Curie had such an interesting life, rather than the author's writing skI finished this and thought it was very good, maybe quite simply because Marie Curie had such an interesting life, rather than the author's writing skills. Fascinating and moving. Science details are explained just enough so you understand.....at least most of the time. Sometimes books go on and on and you drown in the details, but not here. You learn about her childhood, her devotion to science, her love for her children and husband and science. I repeated science twice, and that was done on purpose. I want to keep this short, but you also get relevant details on WW1 and Polish history too. Marie Curie had an interesting life. As a person she is someone to admire, but neither are her failures shied from. I do recommend the book. Fine narration of the audiobook by Eliza Foss....more
I am in the middle of moving from one country to another, so I just do not have the time to write a decent review of this excellent, marvelous book! PI am in the middle of moving from one country to another, so I just do not have the time to write a decent review of this excellent, marvelous book! Please, if you are at all interested in either history or amazing people grab this book soon. On closing this book the reader truly understand the atmosphere that swallowed up America during the era of McCarthyism and the Cold War. The reader comes to understand Oppenheimer - his creativity, his imagination and his failings too. The list of the latter is long, but boy do I admire the guy! There is so much I could tell you about this man who I knew nothing about before I read this book, except his label as the the "Father of the Atomic Bomb".
I listened to the audiobook read by Jeff Cummings. I have no complaints with the narration. Read the book or listen to the book. You choose, which ever suits you best. Just don't add it to one of those never-ending lists of books that you don't get around to actually reading!...more
I liked this book very, very much. We all have heard about Steve Jobs, but he is in fact a person even more magnetic than all the wild tidbits you havI liked this book very, very much. We all have heard about Steve Jobs, but he is in fact a person even more magnetic than all the wild tidbits you have heard before. Isaacson never white-washes the man. You get something very close to the truth. This man was inconsiderate, down-right mean and often obnoxious, and yet at the same time he had magnetism, a force that is inspiring. He went after his goals, and he never shied from stating an unpleasant truth. He and his company stood for beautiful products; he gave us products that we didn't even know we needed, but once you have them you cannot live without them. They are perfect; they are a delight to hold, they have a magic that other gadgets just do not have. He has tied creativity and imagination and technology all into one perfect, simplified product that is complete from start to finish. Who was this man, into Zen Buddhism, a vegan and a p-e-r-f-e-c-t-i-o-n-i-s-t above all? Working with him must have been pure hell ......and yet how often do you get to work with such an exceptional, demanding, creative person. At the same time he was a talented business entrepreneur.
So why not five stars? You learn about Steve, but I would have liked to learn more about his wife and his children - who they really were. How did they cope with such a spouse, such a father! You will not understand this question until you understand who Steve was. Secondly, quite often technical terms are used and they are not explained or defined. Perhaps many others know these but I didn't. Maybe the paper book has a dictionary at the end? The amazing thing is that even without any definitions being given, by the end of the book you have come to understand them. The book does educate the reader in the field of computer science.
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Dylan Baker, with the epilogue narrated by the author, Walter Isaacson. Baker did a fantastic job of expressing the personality of Steve. He was a rebel and a Hippie and he lost his temper and swore. At the same time he was a fantastic business leader; he created the most valuable company in the world. His most popular word was shit, and if swear words are going to bother you I recommend you look elsewhere. I told you he had a temper. Anyhow, with Baker speaking, I often thought, this is Steve talking!
You just have to read this book to rub shoulders with such a personality. The man was exceptional. I have my doubts that Apple, as it was defined by him, can ever be the same without him. ...more
Please note that this book has received awards for its excellence for young adults. I was hesitant at first because I was looking for an adult book coPlease note that this book has received awards for its excellence for young adults. I was hesitant at first because I was looking for an adult book covering the science and history on the making of the first nuclear bomb and about Robert Oppenheimer, the father of that first bomb. This book is not in any way childish. It gives a clear and concise history of all the events. I am completely satisfied with the book. It is an excellent place to start. Having read this you want more details, more in-depth information about the main characters. I prefer starting with a background of the entire event before plunging into a book focused on Oppenheimer himself. Now I want to know more about this man. He is fascinating; first he makes the bomb and he is at the same time one of first to be aware of its dangers! I have already begun American Prometheus by Kai Bird, a biography focused just on Oppenheimer.
I gave this book three stars because I like it. It reads like a good Wiki article. It has all the prominent facts. This happened and this happened and then this. One event after another. You get a picture of the path toward the making of the bomb, its actual construction and the political environment of those times – WW2, the race for the scientific knowledge and McCarthyism. It is amazing how differently the people spying for the Soviets were punished….and why each thought the Soviets should have this knowledge.
Having read this book, I now can easily go further. There is little character analysis in this book, and that is what I am looking for in my next book on this topic. You certainly cannot start your education in the tenth grade…..now I have prepared myself.
Concerning the audiobook narration by Roy Samuelson, it was excellent. He doesn’t overdramatize the lines or the events. They are exciting in themselves and do not need extra emphasis. Good speed and clear enunciation too. I can highly recommend this as an audiobook. ...more
I liked this book a lot, so four stars. It is interesting, well told and easy to follow. Although filled with facts it is never dry or boring. The sciI liked this book a lot, so four stars. It is interesting, well told and easy to follow. Although filled with facts it is never dry or boring. The scientific details are well explained so any lay person can understand. It is about the creation of Oak Ridge, Tennessee - a city created to produce the first atomic bombs' fuel source. This book not only follows the historical facts surrounding the creation of this fuel source but also the creation of the city where the people employed to do the first enriching of uranium worked. It is really quite fascinating.
The “secrecy of the town’s very existence” is depicted through the people that lived there. Suspense is further increased as the author switches between different topics. The extent to which one's mouth had to be clamped shut is exemplified. You are not just told but shown. It is hard to really imagine. It makes complete sense that unmarried girls were central to the town’s work force; why this was so becomes clear when you read the book. There were however many men there too. I wish the author had also spoken of them. There were plenty of jobs for men too. We are told that 75 000 people came to live there at its peak. I wish the author had specified how many were women ad how many men. I wanted that figure. Although the title does clearly point out the importance of women I would have preferred a book that discussed the men too; their role was vital too. In the name of equality, not just one side of the story should have been told. This is my biggest complaint with the book.
I liked how the story of the Oak Ridge was described from its beginning, through the war and AFTER the war too. Our view of the atomic bomb and atomic energy during the war and AFTER is discussed. This too is well done and gives a more rounded perspective. How the residents of the city saw themselves while working "to win the war" and afterwards when they discovered what their role really had been was honest - a mix of both pride and shame.
The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Cassandra Campbell. She is very popular with many, but my experience with earlier audiobooks was less favorable. Kiernan, with her particular choice of words sometimes wanted to get across and implied meaning and this came across loud and clear through Campbell’s reading. Bravo! Campbell also well captured both feminine Southern Appalachian dialects and official government documents. The narration was very well done! ...more
Too episodic for my tastes. The author travels in Japan after the earthquake / tsunami / and nuclear power melt down in 2011. Each chapter is a shortToo episodic for my tastes. The author travels in Japan after the earthquake / tsunami / and nuclear power melt down in 2011. Each chapter is a short little episode, many quite varied in character. There are blog entries, scientific facts about the melt down, criticism of government policies and travel notes. The best parts are poetically written; they relate how particular individuals experienced the waves, the fear, the typhoon.
Sumalee Montano, with her Japanese accent, gave a delightful rendering of the lines. Very good narration in fact.
The book wasn’t amazing, but the man certainly was. Don’t get me wrong; I really liked the book, and it is one I would recommend to all those readersThe book wasn’t amazing, but the man certainly was. Don’t get me wrong; I really liked the book, and it is one I would recommend to all those readers who want to meet an intelligent, wonderful, honest, humble person. I am not calling him great for what he did for science, but for the kind of person he was. He will appeal to those of you who like non-conformists, people with imagination and curiosity. He is one of those few adults who manage to keep alive a child’s delight in the world around them.
Now there is a lot of physics in this book, and there are sections that went over my head. This annoyed me. Although it is not a criticism of the author, but rather a criticism of myself, IF the author had managed to make clear for me more of the scientific theories, I would have to call the book amazing. General and special relativity, gravitation and quantum mechanics they do all belong in this book, they should not be removed. I understand more than when I began, but I have far to go. Einstein saw and figured out his answers to the questions he was trying to solve through “thought experiments“. He would imagine a physical happening in his head, be it an elevator in free-fall or a bug crawling around a branch, and he would ask himself what would happen and how does the bug see the world around him. These thought experiments are Einstein’s, not the author's, and they are the easiest way to understand the laws of physics which Einstein discovered.
Others criticize how Einstein treated his family. He was who he was, and I don’t see him as worse than anybody else. He did love his family. All people do not express love in the same way.
Is there humor in the book? Yes, mostly in some of the things Einstein said.
You get history too. McCarthyism and Stalinism and Nazism. What role did he play? What was his role exactly in the development of atomic weapons, and more importantly how did he see the world afterwards. He thought there should be a world organization that controlled all atomic weapons. Was he naïve? Could this have ever worked? All of this is discussed.
Religion is discussed too. According to Einstein, it is the absence of miracles that proves the existence of divine providence. It is the laws of nature that so magnificently explain the world around us and that inspire awe. His belief in science was very close to his religiosity. They are one and the same thing.
Einstein in a nutshell: creativity and imagination and curiosity require non-conformity which requires the nurturing of free minds which requires tolerance and finally humility. Einstein was a kind, unpretentious, humble man. I really, really liked this book. I wish I could speak with Einstein himself. Even though he was great he would have talked to me. He was never showy or saw himself as the extraordinary person that he was.
Another interesting question: was he in his soul German or Swiss or American? I mean, in spirit. Or was he a citizen of the world?
I listened to the audiobook narrated by Edward Herrmann. The narration was clear and at a perfect speed. The science sections were hard. For those of you who are reading this to better understand physics, maybe it is better to read the paper book, where it is easier to stop and THINK! Oh, I forgot to say this – when Einstein got the Nobel Prize, which by the way was not for relativity, he explained his scientific theories over and over. When asked if others understood, most admitted they didn’t. This made me feel a lot better when I found myself becoming confused. I read the book to meet the man, and I really enjoyed it. ...more
I am not in any way disputing the thesis; I find that which is stated so obvious and then he goes on anThis damn book put me to sleep.
I am not in any way disputing the thesis; I find that which is stated so obvious and then he goes on and on and on theorizing it to pieces.
The audiobook I read was an updated edition. It is narrated by the author and Laila Ward. Ward reads the original text of the book, and the author reads the copious notes modifying the original text. He further analyzes some points (into oblivion), disputes criticisms that have been made and makes corrections. When he disputes criticisms I was annoyed because it felt unfair that he continually got the last word. ..... I felt that he was full of himself.
I am returning this book not yet having completed it. Half is enough to get the message....more