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What first struck me about this book was that it was so readable The first chapter paints a beautiful picture of father of the atomic bomb J Robert Oppenheimer s first meeting with Dorothy McKibben, a laid back Santa Fean who would become the gatekeeper to Los Alamos Through Dorothy s eyes, Conant shows us the story of Los Alamos, the scientists who came there, and the atomic bomb and the charming man behind it all, Oppie I am familiar with much of the stories surrounding wartime Los Alamos and they are all included here It expounded upon the Bradbury Science Museum s standard video, The Town That Never Was, and included the context and history I had glimpsed in other places articles from The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Richard Feynman s book, or the movie Infinity starring Matthew Broderick.As I was reading I couldn t help but pick out quotes that would have backed up my point of view in past history papers I wrote on different angles of this same general subject many times It s a little different to be reading this kind of book for fun, not gleaning for quotes Nevertheless, I can t say I was totally in love with this book the entire time A few chapters were drier than others after Conant s beautiful narrative in the first chapter she stiffens her writing style somewhat It s still wonderfully written and very readable, but when the content wasn t as interesting I don t care for government related details, it seems it was harder to get through That said, I could hardly put the book down as it approached a few natural climaxes, particularly the testing of the bomb in the southern New Mexico desert and the dropping of the bombs on Japan.Conant also includes the story of Oppenheimer himself his sudden elopement with Kitty a woman who turned out to be cold and brittle, but to whom Oppie was truly devoted , his good life before the war as he entertained at his California estate, and a few curious incidents and how that contributed to his stripped security clearance during McCarthy s witchhunts of the 1950s For all his charm and brilliance, his personal life turned out to be a wreck.Conant s descriptions of the other major scientists were wonderful Her blunt portrayal of Edward Teller a Hungarian scientists obsessed with the hydrogen bomb was so incredulous that it was funny Richard Feynman s pranks, Niels Bohr s fatherly influence, and Klaus Fuch s quiet, deceptive ways were all interesting to read about.109 East Palace was a very readable, comprehensive book regarding Oppenheimer, Los Alamos, and the people who lived there I really enjoyed it Having lived in Santa Fe and visited Los Alamos on a number of occasions, this book was particularly interesting to me It gave a close up look at the many individuals who developed the Atomic Bomb, particularly Oppenheimer and his public relations aide, Dorothy There is quite a picture of how these people tolerated mostly with heavy drinking the privations of isolation from family, poor living conditions, and crisis of conscience after the bomb It was interesting to note the difference in the personalities and outlooks of theoretical physicists compared to the pragmatists of the Military who conducted World War II. This is history made human I really appreciated that Jennet Conant didn t end her storytelling with the Trinity Site Test or at Hiroshima or Nagasaki.The reader learns the shape of the land that would become home to Robert Oppenheimer s group as they raced to build the bomb We come to know the story of many of the project s personalities, struggles, and achievements What is exceptional about these stories is the way they weave together and include frank looks at the pre war and post war lives of those who one way or another found themselves caught up in the work of the Manhattan project.I d just finished reading Einstein His Life and Universe before I read this, it was great preparation before delving into the lives of the physicists who would work in Los Alamos It helped me to understand better the world people left before they walked through the door at 109 E Palace and the one they would inhabit afterward. What a great read I can t say enough about the insight Jennet Conant puts into this work She has done a masterful job weaving the intricacies of the bomb development, political up heavel and meshing of over inflated egos into a precise, easy to digest, complex subject matter We all know Oppenheimer was dubbed, the Father of the Atomic Bomb, but how was he able to do it is the real story We were in a race to beat Germany to the draw Everyone knew, if Hitler got there first, he d waste no time nuking Moscow, London, Warsaw or any other target in Europe General Groves chooses Oppenheimer to lead the charge at Los Alamos Talk about two diametric individuals, Oppie is the quintessential academian while Groves is hardcore military War does make strange bedfellows But the glue that holds this tenuous d tente together is Dorothy McKibbins whom Oppie hired Without her organizational skills and calm demeanor, it s questionable whether the Manhattan Project would have succeeded She was the prop master behind the curtain that allowed the performers to shine You name it and she saw it was handled even it wasn t in her job title housing, food, transportation, entertainment, lost luggage, passes, credentials No one stepped foot into the compound until she vetted him or her The only time she allowed a stranger onto the base was when a B 29 pilot arrived late for a meeting She sized him up in a few minutes and decided, he was okay The pilot None other than Colonel Paul Tibbets I d say she was a good judge of character No matter what task Oppie asked Dorothy to perform, she never balked She, like many women were mesmerized by this soft spoken giant in the world of Physics Whether he knew it or not, he had quite an effect on the female persuasion, yet stay true to his wife Kitty.Without going into too much detail, she loved this man for his energy, kindness, compassion and wit Oppie s drawback was his intelligence and superior attitude Many of his colleagues embraced it while others, who felt his harsh wit, held high resentment, including the military After the war, we are aware of the McCarthy hearings and how they were designed to weed out any and all people who were remotely connected to the Communist Party Many of the scientists who worked on the bomb, for whatever reasons had joined the party, but were not active It was the thing to do The identification of Fuchs and the Rosenbergs as Russian spies added salt to the wound Oppenheimer would be grilled at congressional hearings for not releasing the name of a would be informant His naivety of political workings would be his temporary downfall in the public eye No textbook or theorem could prepare him for the inner workings of Washington This is an excellent read for anyone interested in the inner workings of Los Alamos and the individuals who launched the world into the atomic age Five Stars This fascinating book by the granddaughter of James B Conant, who administrated the Manhattan Project, tells the human story of the creation of Los Alamos National Laboratory and the development of the nuclear bomb near the end of World War II Though the story is framed as an account of Dorothy McKibbin, the administrator who ran the front office of the secret wartime lab at the Santa Fe address that serves as the book s title, it is clearly an homage to J Robert Oppenheimer and his leadership of the wartime effort.Conant creates wonderfully vibrant characters out of what were perhaps the oddest assortment of geniuses ever assembled It would have been very easy for the book to become littlethan a side show of mad scientists, but Conant s passion for the story keeps the inevitable quirkiness authentic and, well, lovable Genius scientists are rarely known for their people skills Oppenheimer being a grand exception , but Conant is exceptionally sympathetic in her portrayal of these often difficult personalities The one glaring exception is her portrayal of Edward Teller, who she clearly disdains This is not a book about the A bombit is a book about the community that created the A bomb under some of the most unusual and strenuous circumstances humans could endure.I found particularly gratifying her discussion of the immediate aftermath of Los Alamos success, describing fully the way the various key scientists reacted to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Her portrayal of the moral ambiguity of that moment is a great moment to consider the evertangled web of technological advancement, militaristic foreign policy, and political expediency In her telling, Oppenheimer s exceptionalism is rooted in his early and keen perception of the moral dilemma created by atomic energy, summarized by his famous quote after the successful test of the first atomic bomb I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds Conant s carrying of the story into the McCarthy era, the revocation of Oppenheimer s security clearance and consultancy at the Atomic Energy Commission feels, to be honest, as if it goes a bit beyond where the story could have perhaps should have ended And it is in that final section that her crusading for Oppenheimer s reputation as a great scientist and a great American as well as her most damning remarks about Edward Teller s lack of character becomes most strident It s as if she wishes to provide the defense that her grandfather was unable to effectively mount at the height of the Red Scare of the 1950s I ve always been fascinated by biographies of great minds, so this book was fascinating in its incisive explorations of a COMMUNITY of such minds and how they interacted and reacted to each other Conant does a tremendous job of drawing the reader into that story and making the reader careabout what happened to the people than about what happened to the project It was a book long in the finishing, but a book that was worthy of the time. Another great find from the little free library in our neighborhood This book chronicles the establishment of a laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico and the subsequent development and use of the atomic bomb It also briefly covers the fall out that the laboratory director experienced during the Red Scare I am not as familiar with WWII and the eastern hemisphere, so this book was eye opening in that regard It was also well written for a non fiction novel and offered several points of view from various sources the lab director, the scientists themselves, scientists family members, and Dorothy McKibbin the administrative director of the laboratory The author did a great job of highlighting day to day life in the laboratory and how isolating it was for the individuals living working there The descriptions of the high birth rate and how busy the pediatrician was were amusing Overall, this book is worth reading if you re into history WWII. |DOWNLOAD PDF ⚈ 109 East Palace: Robert Oppenheimer and the Secret City of Los Alamos ♠ Conant, Author Of The Bestselling Tuxedo Park, Offers A Human Look At The Brilliant Physicists Who For Than Two Years, Along With Their Families, Lived, Laughed, Despaired And Rejoiced In A Secret, Sequestered, For Some Claustrophobic City In The New Mexico Desert Despite Its Grand Name,East Palace Was The Nondescript Office In Santa Fe That Served As A Gateway To The Los Alamos Complex The Narrative Is Framed By The Perspective Of Dorothy McKibben, Who, In Running That Office, Issuing Security Passes And Coordinating Logistics, Was, Says Conant, The Gatekeeper To The Hidden World Of Los Alamos Conant Focuses On The Day To Day Experience Of The Scientists, Technicians And Families Stationed At Los Alamos, Fleshing Out Their History In Unexpected Ways While Her Protagonists Are Brilliant Men And Women, They Re Also Vibrant Characters Who Chafe At Authority, Fall In Love, Argue Over Housing And Drink To Excess Less About The Science Of Building The Bomb, The Book Highlights The Creation Of A Unique Place And Time In Which That Bomb Could Be Built, And Conant The Granddaughter Of A Manhattan Project Administrator Brings To Life The Colorful, Eccentric Town Of Thousands That Sprang Up On A New Mexico Mesa And Achieved The Unthinkable Publishers Weekly Cool assemblage of stories about working at Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project Makes me ponder what if my calling in life was to build the most horrible destructive weapon imaginable After reading this book, I have a totally new appreciation for the amount of brain power that physicists have to have at their beck and call Robert Oppenheimer and his tribe of scientists were charged secretly with developing the atomic bomb Under military organization and oversight, a laboratory was established on the top of a mesa in the middle of nowhere Extreme measures were employed.Conant tells a detail laden story of life on the mesa in a time of war and fear The characters are all real, and the science is all real The most moving moment for me After the test and the scientists are all whooping in celebration, the realization of what they have actually created settles in They are overwhelmed Read this book Oppenheimer is a complex man, and his later troubles with McCarthy and politics often overshadow his brilliant mind Life is never simple. This is one of the best books I ve read Non fiction that reads like fiction It is a compelling story I really liked that the author focused on Dorthy McKibbin and Robert Oppenheimer to tell the story I recently visited Los Alamos so I had a real senses of place when the author described the area.