Book Review: Judging Edward Teller

Anyone interested in learning more about Edward Teller, dubbed the Father of the H-Bomb and one of the most influential scientists of his time will enjoy this absorbing, thoroughly researched biography. Hungarian scientist and an acquaintance of Teller, Hargittai sifted through a vast collection of German, Hungarian and American archival materials in order to present an accurate, balanced picture of the man behind the myths. Vilified for testifying against Robert Oppenheimer, Teller was a complex man of strong beliefs.

Hargittai does an excellent job of avoiding playing the blame game, focusing instead on the facts as they were perceived during a very turbulent time in our nation’s history. From his birth in Hungary before moving to Germany and eventually finding something of a safe haven in the U.S., Hargittai explores those early years that helped shape Teller into the passionate man he became. Naturally, a great deal of time is given to Teller’s role in the development both the A and H bomb along with their impact upon the general population and scientific community. This is a well balanced, insightful biography sure to be enjoyed by those curious to learn more about one of the key figures involved with the birth of the atomic age.

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