Oppenheimer is Watching Me

Oppenheimer is Watching Me : A Memoir

4 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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When he discovers that his father worked on missiles for a defense contractor, Jeff Porter is inspired to revisit America's atomic past and our fallen heroes, in particular J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. The result, "Oppenheimer Is Watching Me", takes readers back to the cold war, when men in lab coats toyed with the properties of matter and fears of national security troubled our sleep. With an eye for strange symmetries, Porter traces how one panicky moment shaped the lives of a generation. All the figures in this masterful work are caught in a web of coincidences and paranoias, the chapters strewn with the icons of American material culture of a bygone era - vintage Pontiacs, Fizzie sodas, Geiger counters, latex girdles, and, of course, Fat Man and Little Boy. Readers also encounter noteworthy figures from the era, including Francis Gary Powers, whose U2 spy plane was shot out from under him in the skies over the Soviet Union, and Fidel Castro, whom the CIA plotted to kill or, at least, strip of his beard. Seamlessly weaving historical events played out on a grand stage with day-to-day activities of childhood, "Oppenheimer Is Watching Me" is a heady mix of personal memoir and cold war history.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 150 pages
  • 149.86 x 238.76 x 15.24mm | 294.83g
  • University of Iowa Press
  • Iowa, United States
  • English
  • First.
  • 1587296160
  • 9781587296161

Review quote

"This is an inventive book, and an original one. A seamless blend of personal and public history, "Oppenheimer Is Watching Me "reports on many things: pole vaulting, baseball, Love Canal, Los Alamos and the dark halls of Washington, quarks, neutrons, jazz clubs, Pontiacs, fall-out shelters, cabbages and kings. Jeff Porter writes with equal wit and grace about the Manhattan Project and his family in Tonawanda, about Francis Gary Powers, Fidel Castro, and his Sicilian grandfather. There s much that s melancholic, too, a fear and trembling unto death but somehow the whole is more bracing than bleak, the song of a survivor, and all of it vividly seen.' Nicholas Delbanco, author, "Spring and Fall" and "Anywhere out of the World""show more

About Jeffrey Lyn Porter

Jeff Porter teaches in the English Department at the University of Iowa. He specializes in literary nonfiction, documentary film, and digital media, with particular emphasis on science and technology. He offers classes on radio and video essays, documentary writing and filmmaking, postmodernism, and the history of the essay.show more

Rating details

12 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 50% (6)
4 8% (1)
3 33% (4)
2 8% (1)
1 0% (0)
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