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Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb

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Leo Szilard has long been overshadowed by such luminaries as Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Enrico Fermi—with whom he codesigned the first nuclear reactor in 1942. A shy, witty eccentric, the Hungarian born Szilard lived both sides of the arms race, working first to prevent, then to hasten, and finally to outlaw nuclear weapons. "Lanouette's book is eminently readable. . . . An Leo Szilard has long been overshadowed by such luminaries as Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Enrico Fermi—with whom he codesigned the first nuclear reactor in 1942. A shy, witty eccentric, the Hungarian born Szilard lived both sides of the arms race, working first to prevent, then to hasten, and finally to outlaw nuclear weapons. "Lanouette's book is eminently readable. . . . An excellent book spiced with telling anecdotes about a strange man who influenced world history."—Max F. Perutz, New York Review of Books "Lanouette's exhaustively researched and artfully written account of one of the most underrated figures of the atomic age establishes Szilard as both a curmudgeon and a posthumously honored prophet."—Gregg Herken, Nature "William Lanouette . . . has written the most sensitive and lively biography. . . . The book gives an excellent picture of the man, and makes most interesting reading. I strongly recommend it."—Hans Bethe, Physics Today "A wonderful book about this endlessly fascinating man . . . one of the most entertaining stories in recent years. . . . A keeper."—Dick Teresi, New York Times Book Review


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Leo Szilard has long been overshadowed by such luminaries as Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Enrico Fermi—with whom he codesigned the first nuclear reactor in 1942. A shy, witty eccentric, the Hungarian born Szilard lived both sides of the arms race, working first to prevent, then to hasten, and finally to outlaw nuclear weapons. "Lanouette's book is eminently readable. . . . An Leo Szilard has long been overshadowed by such luminaries as Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Enrico Fermi—with whom he codesigned the first nuclear reactor in 1942. A shy, witty eccentric, the Hungarian born Szilard lived both sides of the arms race, working first to prevent, then to hasten, and finally to outlaw nuclear weapons. "Lanouette's book is eminently readable. . . . An excellent book spiced with telling anecdotes about a strange man who influenced world history."—Max F. Perutz, New York Review of Books "Lanouette's exhaustively researched and artfully written account of one of the most underrated figures of the atomic age establishes Szilard as both a curmudgeon and a posthumously honored prophet."—Gregg Herken, Nature "William Lanouette . . . has written the most sensitive and lively biography. . . . The book gives an excellent picture of the man, and makes most interesting reading. I strongly recommend it."—Hans Bethe, Physics Today "A wonderful book about this endlessly fascinating man . . . one of the most entertaining stories in recent years. . . . A keeper."—Dick Teresi, New York Times Book Review

30 review for Genius in the Shadows: A Biography of Leo Szilard, the Man Behind the Bomb

  1. 5 out of 5

    Harrison Haas

    I was recommended this book by my Modern Physics professor following a discussion about some historical physics personalities. My professor promised me a character, but I was not prepared for Leo. The book is extremely interesting and you do feel as if you know the man by the time you are finished reading. What an interesting life! This is a must-read for anyone considering themselves having an interest in science. It is so incredibly important that we not remain ignorant about the true history I was recommended this book by my Modern Physics professor following a discussion about some historical physics personalities. My professor promised me a character, but I was not prepared for Leo. The book is extremely interesting and you do feel as if you know the man by the time you are finished reading. What an interesting life! This is a must-read for anyone considering themselves having an interest in science. It is so incredibly important that we not remain ignorant about the true history of some of the most important discoveries. I was certainly ignorant about Szilard's contributions to physics beforehand. Speaking for the intended audience, this is a five-star read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Zulugoat

    a bit long with too many small details of questionable relevance and some annoying repetitions however a very entertaining read on a fascinating, important and amazing human, who has not been well treated by History.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Willie F. Poetschke

    Very eye opening Enjoyed very much. Made me breathless just keeping up with Leo. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested history.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    An amazing character. Came up with the scientific concept underlying the nuclear bomb and was a founder of the Salk Institute.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    i love leo szilard!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bill Zito

  7. 5 out of 5

    İbrahim Emre

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael Pujals

  9. 4 out of 5

    lee hawkins

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roger Blakesley

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bob Adams

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Johnston

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robert J. Sawyer

  14. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  15. 5 out of 5

    Peter Cook

  16. 5 out of 5

    Howard Hoskins

  17. 5 out of 5

    TE

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joe Johnson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Leonard A.

  20. 4 out of 5

    ROBERT M CALLAHAN

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rial R

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robert Alexander

  23. 4 out of 5

    John P. Franzis

  24. 4 out of 5

    Galen

  25. 4 out of 5

    Howard DeVoe

  26. 4 out of 5

    Mark Bliss

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barton D Akers

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carol Soto

  30. 4 out of 5

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