KLAUS FUCHS: The Man Who Stole the Atom Bomb by Norman Moss

KLAUS FUCHS: The Man Who Stole the Atom Bomb

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Published earlier this year in Great Britain, Moss' well-turned account of a celebrated espionage case suffers, albeit modestly, by comparison with Robert Chadwell Williams' Klaus Fuchs, A tom Spy (p. 1149)--though both authors are in substantial agreement as to the facts. A preacher's son born in 1911, Fuchs fled Germany for the UK in 1933 when his Communist Party activities aroused Nazi ire. He earned a physics doctorate at the University of Bristol and, following internment as an enemy alien at the start of WW II, was, cleared to work on the Manhattan Project. A valued contributor to nuclear-weapons programs during and after the war, Fuchs was also passing classified technical data to agents of the Soviet Union. Arrested in 1950, he confessed and served nine years in British prisons. Fuchs has lived quietly in East Germany since his 1959 release. Moss offers a comparatively straightforward narrative that focuses, speculatively at times, on Fuchs' few close relationships, his motivations, and the probable pressures of conflicting loyalties. By contrast, historian Williams went well beyond the man to put the implications and consequences of his treachery in geopolitical perspectives. He also provided more detail than Moss on Alan Nunn May, Bruno Pontecorvo, the Rosenbergs, and other A-bomb spies linked in one way or another to Fuchs. The Moss version of Fuchs' duplicitous career is workmanlike and interesting for the light it sheds on his associates. The text does not, though, measure up to the wider-ranging, more resonant Williams entry. There are eight pages of photographs, plus an FBI transcript of Fuchs' confession, which remains classified in security-conscious Great Britain.

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1987
Publisher: St. Martin's