In This Review

The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the Birth of the Modern Arms Race
The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and the Birth of the Modern Arms Race
By Priscilla McMillan
384 pp, Viking, 2005
Purchase

This has been a good year for students of the case of Robert Oppenheimer, the leader of the U.S. wartime atomic bomb project, whose security clearance was revoked under extraordinary circumstances in 1954. Following close on the heels of Kai Bird's and Martin Sherwin's monumental biography, American Prometheus, McMillan's book is shorter and sharper. McMillan focuses more on the policy issues at the heart of the drama and illuminates well the surrounding cast of characters, with lots of fascinating detail about the interaction between scientific politics and Washington politics.