"Through diligent research, brilliant insights, and clear, incisive writing, Streshinsky and Klaus have deepened our understanding of Robert Oppenheimer's emotional life and loves. To comprehend his fascinating complexity, readers interested in the 20th century's most intriguing American scientist must now supplement the many biographical Oppenheimer tomes with this marvelous concise and precise book. Anyone with the slightest interest in Oppenheimer's biography will not be able to put it down." —Martin J. Sherwin, co-author of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize-winning American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
“An Atomic Love Story is a story of many loves. A whole new range of Robert Oppenheimer’s life emerges, a deeper and richer view of one of the pivotal figures of the 20th century.” —Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb
“It is impossible to see Robert Oppenheimer whole without understanding the three great loves of his life. A closed book to most of the world, he opened himself to these three women, showing them the depth and intensity of his longing for the intimacies of the spirit as well as those of the flesh. An Atomic Love Story gives us the missing piece of the man.” —Patricia O’Toole, author of The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends and When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House
A gripping narrative of the love and betrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer, told through the lives of three unique women.
Set against a dramatic backdrop of war, spies, and nuclear bombs, An Atomic Love Story unveils a vivid new view of a tumultuous era and one of its most important figures. In the early decades of the 20th century, three highly ambitious women found their way to the West Coast, where each was destined to collide with the young Oppenheimer, the enigmatic physicist whose work in creating the atomic bomb would forever impact modern history. His first and most intense love was for Jean Tatlock, though he married the tempestuous Kitty Harrison—both were members of the Communist Party—and was rumored to have had a scandalous affair with the brilliant Ruth Sherman Tolman, ten years his senior and the wife of another celebrated physicist. Although each were connected through their relationship to Oppenheimer, their experiences reflect important changes in the lives of American women in the 20th century: the conflict between career and marriage; the need for a woman to define herself independently; experimentation with sexuality; and the growth of career opportunities.
Beautifully written and superbly researched through a rich collection of firsthand accounts, this intimate portrait shares the tragedies, betrayals, and romances of an alluring man and three bold women, revealing how they pushed to the very forefront of social and cultural changes in a fascinating, volatile era.