Kai Bird

Easton Press Kai Bird books

American Prometheus: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Robert J. Oppenheimer (co-authored with Martin Sherwi) - Signed limited edition as part of The 2006 Pulitzer Prize Winners set - 2006


Kai Bird biography

Kai Bird, born on September 2, 1951, is an American author and journalist with a distinguished career in writing and reporting on international affairs. His life and work have been marked by a commitment to understanding and interpreting complex geopolitical issues, particularly those related to the Middle East. Bird was born in Eugene, Oregon, and his early exposure to a diverse range of cultures, including time spent in Jerusalem during his youth, influenced his later interest in international relations. He graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota and later pursued postgraduate studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bird began his career in journalism, contributing to esteemed publications such as The Nation and The New York Times Magazine. His reporting covered a wide array of topics, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the geopolitical landscape of the Middle East.

One of Bird's notable works is the biography The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames, published in 2014. This book delves into the life of Robert Ames, a CIA operative whose efforts sought to bridge the gap between the United States and the Arab world during a tumultuous period. The biography showcases Bird's skill in weaving together historical narratives with personal stories, providing readers with a nuanced understanding of the complexities of international relations.

Kai Bird's literary contributions extend beyond his role as a journalist. He has co-authored books with other prominent writers, and his works often explore themes of diplomacy, conflict resolution, and the human stories behind global events. Bird's writing reflects a deep commitment to fostering understanding between cultures and shedding light on the individuals who play pivotal roles in shaping history. Beyond his written contributions, Kai Bird has been involved in academic and policy-related endeavors. He has served as the Executive Director and Distinguished Lecturer at the CUNY Graduate Center's Leon Levy Center for Biography.

Kai Bird's life and career exemplify a dedication to uncovering the human stories within the broader context of international relations. His writings provide readers with insights into the complexities of diplomacy and conflict, emphasizing the importance of understanding diverse perspectives in a rapidly changing world.


American Prometheus

American Prometheus is the first full-scale biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, "father of the atomic bomb," the brilliant, charismatic physicist who led the effort to capture the awesome fire of the sun for his country in time of war. Immediately after Hiroshima, he became the most famous scientist of his generation one of the iconic figures of the twentieth century, the embodiment of modern man confronting the consequences of scientific progress.

He was the author of a radical proposal to place international controls over atomic materials-an idea that is still relevant today. He opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb and criticized the Air Force's plans to fight an infinitely dangerous nuclear war. In the now almost-forgotten hysteria of the early 1950s, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup, and, in response, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Lewis Strauss, Superbomb advocate Edward Teller and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover worked behind the scenes to have a hearing board find that Oppenheimer could not be trusted with America's nuclear secrets.

American Prometheus sets forth Oppenheimer's life and times in revealing and unprecedented detail. Exhaustively researched, it is based on thousands of records and letters gathered from archives in America and abroad, on massive FBI files and on close to a hundred interviews with Oppenheimer's friends, relatives and colleagues.

We follow him from his earliest education at the turn of the twentieth century at New York City's Ethical Culture School, through personal crises at Harvard and Cambridge universities. Then to Germany, where he studied quantum physics with the world's most accomplished theorists; and to Berkeley, California, where he established, during the 1930s, the leading American school of theoretical physics, and where he became deeply involved with social justice causes and their advocates, many of whom were communists. Then to Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he transformed a bleak mesa into the world's most potent nuclear weapons laboratory-and where he himself was transformed. And finally, to the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, which he directed from 1947 to 1966.

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer is a rich evocation of America at mid-century, a new and compelling portrait of a brilliant, ambitious, complex and flawed man profoundly connected to its major events the Depression, World War II and the Cold War. It is at once biography and history, and essential to our understanding of our recent past and of our choices for the future.

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