Parallels with Greg Herken's Books





Editor: The following parallels were compiled by Greg Herken.

Comparison of Brian VanDeMark's Pandora's Keepers (PK) (Little, Brown, 2003) with Gregg Herken's Brotherhood of the Bomb (BOB) (Holt, 2002) and The Winning Weapon (TWW) (Knopf, 1981).

"When his temper flared, a vein in his left temple bulged out-it became a warning sign to everyone." PK, 55"...a quick and livid temper. When it flared, a vein stood out above his left temple-a kind of weather gauge and warning to students and colleagues alike." BOB, 7
"He grew up in a spacious apartment at Eighty-eighth Street and Riverside Drive overlooking the Hudson. The family dining room was decorated with a van Gogh painting, and they spent summers at a rambling cottage on Long Island Sound." PK, 81"The Oppenheimer family lived in a spacious Riverside Drive apartment overlooking the Hudson River and spent vacations at a rambling white summer home on Long Island Sound...The art on the walls...included...van Gogh's Landscape with Plowed Fields." BOB, 12
"Oppenheimer's outlook was shaped by his education at the elite Ethical Culture School facing Central Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The progressive school imparted a pragmatic, liberal philosophy to its students that stressed ethical values over moral laws, which it saw as changing over time to meet the needs of society. The result was a high-minded relativism leavened by selflessness-doing 'the noble thing,' as it was known at the school." PK, 82"His values had been influenced, if not shaped, by years spent at the Ethical Culture School...pragmatic ethics taught that there were few ideal, unchanging moral laws, but that values instead evolved over time to fit the needs of society. The result was a kind of high-minded ethical relativism that put the greatest emphasis upon the selfless act-what was known at the school as doing 'the noble thing.'" BOB, 15
"It was the start of what he would later describe as 'an adventurous time.'" PK, 93"It was the start of what Oppie would later describe as 'an adventurous time.'" BOB, 63
"Total devastation stretched out half a mile from the point of explosion, leaving the rubble of one building indistinguishable from that of the next." PK, 182 "Total destruction stretched out in a half-mile radius from the point of the explosion, leaving the rubble of one building indistinguishable from that of the next." TWW, 3
"...igniting fires similar to the incendiary raids against other Japanese cities, except this time the fires were everywhere at once." PK, 182"...fires familiar to the survivors of incendiary raids upon other Japanese cities began to spring up, with the difference that the fires this time were everywhere at once." TWW, 3
"Within hours, victims not killed or horribly burned became sick by what was thought to be a mysterious gas, but was actually radiation poisoning." PK, 183"By nightfall, victims of poisoning by what was thought to be a mysterious 'gas'-actually, radiation sickness-began to appear at aid stations around the destroyed city." TWW, 3
"A letter to Haakon Chevalier the next day seemed an effort to persuade himself that this last point was true. 'The thing had to be done, Haakon.'" PK, 199"Oppie's letter to Chevalier seemed an attempt to persuade himself that what he wrote was true: 'The thing had to be done, Haakon.'" BOB, 142
"Hundreds jammed the largest auditorium on the Hill to hear him speak about the implications of what they, collectively, had wrought...The next morning, Oppenheimer and his family piled into their car and drove down off the mesa bound for California." PK, 200-3"...more than 500 scientists and their spouses crowded into the auditorium at the lab to hear Oppenheimer speak about the implications of what they, collectively, had wrought...The following morning, Oppie, Kitty, and Peter drove down off the mesa in the family Cadillac, bound for Pasadena." BOB, 153
"Once again, through the force of his personality and the power of his intellect, Oppenheimer emerged as the dominant figure of the group." PK, 206"Once again, force of personality and sheer power of intellect had made Oppenheimer the dominant figure in a group." BOB, 163
"Teller's anxious "What should we do now?' became the question of the day in Washington as well...In the current crisis atmosphere, the superbomb seemed a quick way for the United States to recapture its lost nuclear hegemony." PK, 222"But Teller's question was nonetheless the one that preoccupied most Americans-Oppenheimer included-in the days to come...In the atmosphere of crisis, the Super was presented as a quick way for the United States to recapture its lost hegemony." BOB, 201-2
"Oppenheimer and Teller eyed each other warily, while the object of their unstated by unmistakable competition sat silently between them." PK, 229"...Teller and Oppenheimer eyed each other like rival suitors, while the object of their attention sat silent between them."
BOB, 205
"That left Acheson, who had not just the tiebreaking vote but the most influence with Truman." PK, 241"The secretary of state not only held the tie-breaking vote on the committee but also wielded the most influence with Truman." BOB, 216
"[Strauss] even personally helped to line up interviews for the agents. Strauss was so obsessed with getting Oppenheimer that he turned the AEC's security office into his personal detective agency." PK, 256"The AEC chairman even personally helped line up interviews for FBI agents investigating the physicist. Increasingly, Strauss treated the commission's security office and the bureau itself as his own private detective agency." BOB, 266
"In late 1957 Lawrence informed Sproul that he might step down as director of the Rad Lab, after creating and running it with iron-fisted control for more than a quarter of a century. To the elderly former physics department chairman...he talked wistfully about returning to LeConte Hall...and simply puttering around a small laboratory in his office." PK, 301"Lawrence had even recently informed Sproul that he was thinking about stepping down as Rad Lab director, the position he had held for more than twenty years. To Birge, already retired, Ernest spoke wistfully of someday returning to LeConte, so that he might putter around again in his own small laboratory." BOB, 321
"It is a cautionary tale of what comes from unleashing forces that one neither fully understands nor controls." PK, 333"...it is a cautionary tale of arrogance, betrayal, and unforeseen consequences; of what comes from invoking forces-both political and physical-that one neither fully understands nor controls." BOB, xiv

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