THE GREAT WEAPONS HERESY: From Oppenheimer to the ABM by

THE GREAT WEAPONS HERESY: From Oppenheimer to the ABM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In contrast to Philip Stem's The Oppenheimer Case (1969, p. 987), this is not an exhaustive review of the affair: in a rather disorganized way Wilson hits the high points of Oppenheimer's career and the security case itself. (The subtitle is an attention-getter rather than a designation of subject-matter.) Wilson summarizes false issues including Oppenheimer's left-wing friendships and possible secret-betrayal. And he agrees with Stern that Oppenheimer's fight against H-bomb development was crucial; taking the point further, he makes an effective argument that it was oppenheimer's dissent from the fundamental military-defense strategies of the Massive Retaliation period which impelled the government to drive him from his advisory position. Wilson explains why such drastic measures were required to that end, analyzes the Fortune blast which preceded the ""long charade"" of hearings, and lambasts the Gray Report which issued from them. In a spirit of admiring agreement, he also suggests how far Oppenheimer remained from any basic challenge to cold war military preoccupations. The 1953 public criticism of the ""stay-ahead"" logic, which Wilson sees as crucial to his downfall, was conceived in the same pragmatic terms as, e.g., his pitch for greater conventional-arms flexibility. Assuming that Stern's book stands as an Invitation to an Inquest equivalent, this study may get bypassed.... but despite its undistinguished style it's quite a sharp contribution to the topic.

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 1969
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin