James Thackara
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America's Children
First Edition, 1984, Chatto and Windus, London
Republished by Overlook Press, 2001


... America’s Children conveys the mythological tale hidden within Oppenheimer’s forensically catalogued life, his outward triumphs, his agonies of political and moral conscience, and his final ‘trial of Socrates’. The book  follows the conventional story of an Europeanised New York scholar from Harvard who achieves the admiration and trust of his colleagues, and leads them into a pact with America’s wartime military that splits the assumptions of civilisation itself. Sequestered by the Myrmidons of secrecy on a mountain top, half Olympian half prisoner, Oppenheimer enters a crisis of a complexity never before tested...of Christian and Marxist values, love of his wife Kitty, his mistress Jean Tatlock, of his land and of  all humanity, the humiliating forces of Einstein’s universe, the powers locked in invisible high-energy particles and in the manipulations of Oppenheimer’s grossly dangerous Pentagon boss, General Groves - all this leading from the luminous crescendo of science breakthrough among humble shacks beneath the desert stars, to the monstrous cruelties of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Less than a century later, with thermonuclear powers to destroy the planetary system in the hands of many nations and lesser men, few on earth dare to remember a time when every child was born free of universal annihilation.

America's Children paperback
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