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J. Robert Oppenheimer is 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. 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. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Between 1945 and 1991, tension between the USA, its allies, and a group of nations led by the USSR, dominated world politics. This period was called the Cold War – a conflict that stopped short to a full-blown war. Benefiting from the recent research of newly open archives, the Encyclopedia of the Cold War discusses how this state of perpetual tensions arose, developed, and was resolved. This work examines the military, economic, diplomatic, and political evolution of the conflict as well as its impact on the different regions and cultures of the world. Using a unique geopolitical approach that will present Russian perspectives and others, the work covers all aspects of the Cold War, from communism to nuclear escalation and from UFOs to red diaper babies, highlighting its vast-ranging and lasting impact on international relations as well as on daily life. Although the work will focus on the 1945–1991 period, it will explore the roots of the conflict, starting with the formation of the Soviet state, and its legacy to the present day.
In the face of an uncertain and dangerous world, Americans yearn for a firm moral compass, a clear set of ethical guidelines. But as history shows, by reducing complex situations to simple cases of right or wrong we often go astray. In Morality's Muddy Waters, historian George Cotkin offers a clarion call on behalf of moral complexity. Revisiting several defining moments in the twentieth century—the American bombing of civilians during World War II, the My Lai massacre, racism in the South, capital punishment, the invasion of Iraq—Cotkin chronicles how historical figures have grappled with the problem of evil and moral responsibility—sometimes successfully, oftentimes not. In the process, he offers a wide-ranging tour of modern American history. Taken together, Cotkin maintains, these episodes reveal that the central concepts of morality—evil, empathy, and virtue—are both necessary and troubling. Without empathy, for example, we fail to inhabit the world of others; with it, we sometimes elevate individual suffering over political complexities. For Cotkin, close historical analysis may help reenergize these concepts for ethical thinking and acting. Morality's Muddy Waters argues for a moral turn in the way we study and think about history, maintaining that even when answers to ethical dilemmas prove elusive, the act of grappling with them is invaluable.
Extravagantly praised by critics and readers, this stunning story by bestselling author Kati Marton tells of the breathtaking journey of nine extraordinary men from Budapest to the New World, what they experienced along their dangerous route, and how they changed America and the world. This is the unknown chapter of World War II: the tale of nine men who grew up in Budapest's brief Golden Age, then, driven from Hungary by anti-Semitism, fled to the West, especially to the United States, and changed the world. These nine men, each celebrated for individual achievements, were part of a unique group who grew up in a time and place that will never come again. Four helped usher in the nuclear age and the computer, two were major movie myth-makers, two were immortal photographers, and one was a seminal writer. The Great Escape is a groundbreaking, poignant American story and an important untold chapter of the tumultuous last century.
The Espionage Trials that Shaped American Politics
Author: John Earl Haynes
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Communism was never a popular ideology in America, but the vehemence of American anticommunism varied from passive disdain in the 1920s to fervent hostility in the early years of the Cold War. Nothing so stimulated the white hot anticommunism of the late 1940s and 1950s more than a series of spy trials that revealed that American Communists had co-operated with Soviet espionage against the United States and had assisted in stealing the technical secrets of the atomic bomb as well as penetrating the US State Department, the Treasury Department, and the White House itself. This book, first published in 2006, reviews the major spy cases of the early Cold War (Hiss-Chambers, Rosenberg, Bentley, Gouzenko, Coplon, Amerasia and others) and the often-frustrating clashes between the exacting rules of the American criminal justice system and the requirements of effective counter-espionage.
An epic story of science and technology at the very limits of human understanding: the monumental race to build the first atomic weapons. Rich in personality, action, confrontation, and deception, The First War of Physics is the first fully realized popular account of the race to build humankind's most destructive weapon. The book draws on declassified material, such as MI6's Farm Hall transcripts, coded soviet messages cracked by American cryptographers in the Venona project, and interpretations by Russian scholars of documents from the soviet archives. Jim Baggott weaves these threads into a dramatic narrative that spans ten historic years, from the discovery of nuclear fission in 1939 to the aftermath of 'Joe-1,’ August 1949's first Soviet atomic bomb test. Why did physicists persist in developing the atomic bomb, despite the devastation that it could bring? Why, despite having a clear head start, did Hitler's physicists fail? Could the soviets have developed the bomb without spies like Klaus Fuchs or Donald Maclean? Did the allies really plot to assassinate a key member of the German bomb program? Did the physicists knowingly inspire the arms race? The First War of Physics is a grand and frightening story of scientific ambition, intrigue, and genius: a tale barely believable as fiction, which just happens to be historical fact.
This book presents a comprehensive analysis of the contentious relationship between the White House and the scientific community from the FDR administration to the Obama administration. * Includes interviews with scientists and science experts * Presents photographs of scientists, politicians, and scientific accomplishments * Provides a bibliography of print and online resources for further reading * Outlines an annotated list of private organizations whose work relates to science and politics
Fresh, exciting and vividly readable, this is popular history at its very best. Our understanding of world history is changing, as new discoveries are made on all the continents and old prejudices are being challenged. In this truly global journey Andrew Marr revisits some of the traditional epic stories, from classical Greece and Rome to the rise of Napoleon, but surrounds them with less familiar material, from Peru to the Ukraine, China to the Caribbean. He looks at cultures that have failed and vanished, as well as the origins of today’s superpowers, and finds surprising echoes and parallels across vast distances and epochs. A History of the World is a book about the great change-makers of history and their times, people such as Cleopatra, Genghis Khan, Galileo and Mao, but it is also a book about us. For ‘the better we understand how rulers lose touch with reality, or why revolutions produce dictators more often than they produce happiness, or why some parts of the world are richer than others, the easier it is to understand our own times.’
A New History of U.S. National Security Policy Since World War II
Author: Andrew J. Bacevich
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Essays by a diverse and distinguished group of historians, political scientists, and sociologists examine the alarms, emergencies, controversies, and confusions that have characterized America's Cold War, the post-Cold War interval of the 1990s, and today's "Global War on Terror." This "Long War" has left its imprint on virtually every aspect of American life; by considering it as a whole, The Long War is the first volume to take a truly comprehensive look at America's response to the national-security crisis touched off by the events of World War II. Contributors consider topics ranging from grand strategy and strategic bombing to ideology and economics and assess the changing American way of war and Hollywood's surprisingly consistent depiction of Americans at war. They evaluate the evolution of the national-security apparatus and the role of dissenters who viewed the myriad activities of that apparatus with dismay. They take a fresh look at the Long War's civic implications and its impact on civil-military relations. More than a military history, The Long War examines the ideas, policies, and institutions that have developed since the United States claimed the role of global superpower. This protracted crisis has become a seemingly permanent, if not defining aspect of contemporary American life. In breaking down the old and artificial boundaries that have traditionally divided the postwar period into neat historical units, this volume provides a better understanding of the evolution of the United States and U.S. policy since World War II and offers a fresh perspective on our current national security predicament.
In the dramatic narratives that comprise The Republic of Nature, Mark Fiege reframes the canonical account of American history based on the simple but radical premise that nothing in the nation's past can be considered apart from the natural circumstances in which it occurred. Revisiting historical icons so familiar that schoolchildren learn to take them for granted, he makes surprising connections that enable readers to see old stories in a new light. Among the historical moments revisited here, a revolutionary nation arises from its environment and struggles to reconcile the diversity of its people with the claim that nature is the source of liberty. Abraham Lincoln, an unlettered citizen from the countryside, steers the Union through a moment of extreme peril, guided by his clear-eyed vision of nature's capacity for improvement. In Topeka, Kansas, transformations of land and life prompt a lawsuit that culminates in the momentous civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education. By focusing on materials and processes intrinsic to all things and by highlighting the nature of the United States, Fiege recovers the forgotten and overlooked ground on which so much history has unfolded. In these pages, the nation's birth and development, pain and sorrow, ideals and enduring promise come to life as never before, making a once-familiar past seem new. The Republic of Nature points to a startlingly different version of history that calls on readers to reconnect with fundamental forces that shaped the American experience. For more information, visit the author's website: http://republicofnature.com/