A review by theliteraryphoenix
Generals and Geniuses: A History of the Manhattan Project, by Edward G. Lengel

dark emotional informative medium-paced


This discourse about the Manhattan Project and how the United States came to develop nuclear weapons and use them to systematically terrorize the Japanese people during WWII is certainly not a light read. Lengel presents the history of the Project more in traditional non-fiction than he does lecture-format, so it's easy to be drawn in by the controversy and ultimate tragedy of the situation. He starts early - speaking first of those who discovered different pieces of the puzzle and turning finally to the team who carried out the work.

One thing I appreciated about this course was how well the human and scientific elements tied together. It's incredibly easy to see war as either all good or all bad and it was interesting to know that many scientists on the team deeply regretted their involvement in the pain and suffering that evolved from the development of nuclear weapons. Of course, there were many others that insist it was the right thing to do to end the war. I don't feel well equipped to argue the truth of the other side, but I do think that the fallout of Nagasaki and Hiroshima is horrifying. :/

An interesting read, especially for people like me who don't know much about the Project or how things escalated the way they did.