American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

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Vintage Books









About The Author

Kai Bird

Kai Bird

Kai Bird is a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and biographer. His new book is The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames. A biography of a CIA officer, The Good Spy was released on May 20, 2014 by Crown/Random House. Kai's last book was a memoir about the Middle East entitled Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis, 1956-1978 (Scribner, April 27, 2010). It was a 2011 Finalist in the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography. He is the co-author with Martin J. Sherwin of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (2005), which also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography and the Duff Cooper Prize for History in London. He wrote The Chairman: John J. McCloy, the Making of the American Establishment (1992) and The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy & William Bundy, Brothers in Arms (1998). He is also co-editor with Lawrence Lifschultz of Hiroshima's Shadow: Writings on the Denial of History and the Smithsonian Controversy (1998). He is the recipient of fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's writing fellowship, the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, the German Marshall Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation's Study Center, Bellagio, Italy and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC. He is a member of the Society of American Historians and a contributing editor of The Nation. He lives in Miami Beach.

Martin J. Sherwin

Martin J. Sherwin

Martin Jay Sherwin is an author and historian specializing in the development of atomic weapons and nuclear policy. Along with Kai Bird, Sherwin co-wrote American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which won the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 2006.

Sherwin was born in Brooklyn and studied at Dartmouth College. After four years in the Naval Air Force, Sherwin began graduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, receiving a Ph.D. in history in 1971. His dissertation focused on the decision to drop the atomic bomb, and was revised and published in 1975 as A World Destroyed: The Atomic Bomb and the Grand Alliance to much acclaim.

In addition to A World Destroyed and American Prometheus, Sherwin has advised a number of documentaries and television series relating to the Manhattan Project, including The Day after Trinity: A History of Nuclear Strategy, Stalin’s Bomb Maker: Citizen Kurchatov, and War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.

Sherwin has also had a long and distinguished teaching career. In 1988, Sherwin founded the Global Classroom Project, which joined students from the United States and Russia in conversations over issues such as the nuclear arms race. Sherwin is currently a professor emeritus in history at Tufts University and a professor of history at George Mason University.

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

THE INSPIRATION FOR THE MAJOR MOTION PICTURE OPPENHEIMER • “A riveting account of one of history’s most essential and paradoxical figures.”—Christopher Nolan

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • PULITZER PRIZE WINNER • The definitive biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, a brilliant physicist who led the effort to build the atomic bomb for his country in a time of war, and who later found himself confronting the moral consequences of scientific progress.

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In this magisterial, acclaimed biography twenty-five years in the making, Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin capture Oppenheimer’s life and times, from his early career to his central role in the Cold War. This is biography and history at its finest, riveting and deeply informative.

“A masterful account of Oppenheimer’s rise and fall, set in the context of the turbulent decades of America’s own transformation. It is a tour de force.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

Read Also: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“A work of voluminous scholarship and lucid insight, unifying its multifaceted portrait with a keen grasp of Oppenheimer’s essential nature…. It succeeds in deeply fathoming his most damaging, self-contradictory behavior.” —The New York Times

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