War, politics, idealism, passion, deceit, and betrayal: they all come together in the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the a-bomb and accused communist, told by KAI BIRD and MARTIN H. SHERWIN. Their book is American Prometheus: The Triumph of Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Plus: Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, nominated by Nixon in 1970, was the rarest of men: a conservative Republican who became a liberal as he grew older. Blackmun wrote the decision in Roe v. Wade and eventually came out against the death penalty, declaring “I shall no longer tinker with the machinery of death.” LINDA GREENHOUSE is the New York Times Pulitzer-Prize winning Supreme Court reporter; her new book is Becoming Justice Blackmun.
Also: It’s time for utopian thinking: That’s what UCLA historian RUSSELL JACOBY says: “The choice we have is not between reasonable proposals and an unreasonable utopianism. Utopian thinking does not undermine or discount real reforms. Indeed, it is almost the opposite: practical reforms depend on utopian dreaming.”” His new book is Picture Imperfect: Utopian Thought for an Anti-Utopian Age. Terry Eagleton, writing in The Nation, calls it “a book to be treasured.”