having a blast

book cover of Oppenheimer biography that is the basis for the very successful movie

Toronto. While not directly related to photography – other than the book’s photos, this book was the basis for the recent movie whose release prompted  an unexpected box-office success. I first learned of Oppenheimer as a youth interested in the Atomic and Hydrogen bombs and the history around their invention.

My good friend and fellow reading enthusiast, George Dunbar,  sent me a note recently regarding the book and ‘biopic’ of this famous scientist. George writes (in part), ” …  to tell you about the “Oppenheimer” film I saw a couple of weeks ago and the book from which it was adapted. I love ‘biopics’ and this was a good one, but I’m always aware that such films have a tendency to alter facts for greater entertainment value.

“After seeing the film, I got the book, America Prometheus, J.Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) by Bird & Sherwin 2005 ( 721 pages), from the library.

“Apparently, this comprehensive biography was 5 years in the making. So much detail in the book that, obviously, could not be contained in a film, although this film is 3 hours long.

“There is one scene, in particular, that is certainly altered from the authors’ descriptions.
Oppenheimer met with President Truman in the White House in 1945 and the President’s (quite shocking) closing remarks are altered (faked?) in the film.

“I’m assuming here that the book’s description of that meeting is more accurate. I think we all know by now, that Hollywood never misses an opportunity to alter dialogue for box-office appeal.

“I certainly enjoyed both book and film.”

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