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Capsule Review

Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man

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Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man

Racing for the Bomb: General Leslie R. Groves, the Manhattan Project's Indispensable Man
By Robert S. Norris
Steerforth Press, 2002, 722 pp. $40.00 Purchase

One might not expect a prominent member of the National Resources Defense Council to write kindly about Groves, the man whom eyewitnesses and students of the atom bomb's creation love to despise. Groves' political conservatism, suspicion of academics, and obsession with secrecy made him ludicrous to some, downright menacing to others. Yet this well-executed biography evinces an honest respect for Groves without disguising those sides of the man. His organizational abilities and drive made him all the more impressive, given the author's doubts about the institutional legacies that Grove left behind. As a window into the U.S. Army of the interwar period and World War II, as well as the birth of the nuclear age and its American culture, this is an exceptionally fine work.

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