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Edward Teller: The Real Dr. Strangelove

by

Edward Teller: The Real Dr. Strangelove Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

One Nobel Prize-winning physicist called Edward Teller, "A great man of vast imagination...[one of the] most thoughtful statesmen of science." Another called him, "A danger to all that is important...It would have been a better world without [him]." That both opinions about Teller were commonly held and equally true is one of the enduring mysteries about the man dubbed "the father of the H-bomb." In the story of Teller's life and career, told here in greater depth and detail than ever before, Peter Goodchild unravels the complex web of harsh early experiences, character flaws, and personal and professional frustrations that lay behind the paradox of "the real Dr. Strangelove."

Goodchild's biography draws on interviews with more than fifty of Teller's colleagues and friends. Their voices echo through the book, expressing admiration and contempt, affection and hatred, as we observe Teller's involvement in every stage of building the atomic bomb, and his subsequent pursuit of causes that drew the world deeper into the Cold War--alienating many of his scientific colleagues even as he provided the intellectual lead for politicians, the military, and presidents as they shaped Western policy. Goodchild interviewed Teller himself at the end of his life, and what emerges from this interview, as well as from Teller's Memoirs and recently unearthed correspondence, is a clearer view of the contradictions and controversies that riddled the man's life. Most of all, though, this absorbing biography rescues Edward Teller from the caricatures that have served to describe him until now. In their place, Goodchild shows us one of the most powerful scientists of the twentieth century in all his enigmatic humanity.

Review:

"Edward Teller, the 'Father of the H-bomb,' emerges in this readable biography as a brilliant, insecure, sometimes paranoid figure with a significant — and decidedly ambiguous — historical legacy. Born in Hungary, Teller (1908 — 2003) absorbed a lifelong hatred of tyranny and a deep distrust of Soviet communism — one factor motivating his obsessive and successful advocacy of the hydrogen bomb during the early years of the Cold War. Other powerful forces in Teller's life were limitless scientific curiosity and intense personal ambition: he resented being passed up for the job of theoretical director of the Manhattan Project, and much of his later hunger for political power may have been a reaction to that disappointment. Teller used his influence to block efforts at negotiating a test ban treaty by presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy and fed the Red Scare atmosphere of the '50s; he was the only colleague of J. Robert Oppenheimer's to denounce him as a security threat, a move that endeared Teller to right-wingers in Congress while dividing the scientific community. Teller's final political triumph was winning the support of the Reagan administration for 'Star Wars.' Goodchild, a BBC television producer and author of a biography of Oppenheimer, offers a detailed, studiously balanced portrait drawn from archives and interviews with Teller himself and many who knew (and loved or loathed) him. Photos not seen by PW." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

In the story of the man dubbed "the father of the H-bomb," told here in greater depth and detail than ever before, Goodchild unravels the complex web of harsh early experiences, character flaws, and personal and professional frustrations that lay behind the paradox of "the real Dr. Strangelove."

About the Author

Peter Goodchildis an award-winning television producer and the former head of both Science and Features and Drama at the <>BBC. His production of Oppenheimerwon a British Academy Award and spawned an acclaimed biography.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Glossary of Characters

Acknowledgements

1. Introduction

2. War, Revolution, Peace and Maths

3. In the Company of Gods

4. Twilight of a Golden Age

5. America the Beautiful

6. The Hungarian Conspiracy Skirmishes

7. Maverick on the Mesa

8. The Little Toe of the Ghost

9. The Legacy of Hiroshima

10. Wilderness Years

11. The Taking of Washington

12. Unholy Alliances

13. A 'Simple, Great and Stupid' Mistake

14. Technically So Sweet

15. Mike

16. 'Soled' to the Californians

17. Bravo

18. The Hearing

19. Aftermath

20. 'Almost like Ivory Soap'

21. A Matter of Detection

22. Plowshare

23. Confounding Camelot

24. Struggling Uphill

25. Bringing up the Props

26. Excalibur

27. Reykjavik

28. Brilliant Pebbles

Epilogue

Appendix 1: The New Physics: the Path that Led to Quantum Mechanics

Appendix 2: Basic Information on the History of Fission

Appendix 3: The Sketch for the 'Super' that Evolved During the Berkeley Conference, Summer 1942

Notes and References

Select Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674016699
Author:
Goodchild, Peter
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Location:
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Subject:
History
Subject:
Physicists
Subject:
Science & Technology
Subject:
Nuclear Physics
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
Teller, Edward
Subject:
Atomic bomb -- United States -- History.
Subject:
Biography-Scientists
Subject:
Science -- History.
Copyright:
Publication Date:
October 2004
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
55 halftones, 1 line illustration
Pages:
512
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Biography » Medical
Biography » Science and Technology
Science and Mathematics » History of Science » General
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Biographies and Classics
Science and Mathematics » Physics » Nuclear

Edward Teller: The Real Dr. Strangelove New Hardcover
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$38.50 In Stock
Product details 512 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674016699 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Edward Teller, the 'Father of the H-bomb,' emerges in this readable biography as a brilliant, insecure, sometimes paranoid figure with a significant — and decidedly ambiguous — historical legacy. Born in Hungary, Teller (1908 — 2003) absorbed a lifelong hatred of tyranny and a deep distrust of Soviet communism — one factor motivating his obsessive and successful advocacy of the hydrogen bomb during the early years of the Cold War. Other powerful forces in Teller's life were limitless scientific curiosity and intense personal ambition: he resented being passed up for the job of theoretical director of the Manhattan Project, and much of his later hunger for political power may have been a reaction to that disappointment. Teller used his influence to block efforts at negotiating a test ban treaty by presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy and fed the Red Scare atmosphere of the '50s; he was the only colleague of J. Robert Oppenheimer's to denounce him as a security threat, a move that endeared Teller to right-wingers in Congress while dividing the scientific community. Teller's final political triumph was winning the support of the Reagan administration for 'Star Wars.' Goodchild, a BBC television producer and author of a biography of Oppenheimer, offers a detailed, studiously balanced portrait drawn from archives and interviews with Teller himself and many who knew (and loved or loathed) him. Photos not seen by PW." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , In the story of the man dubbed "the father of the H-bomb," told here in greater depth and detail than ever before, Goodchild unravels the complex web of harsh early experiences, character flaws, and personal and professional frustrations that lay behind the paradox of "the real Dr. Strangelove."
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