General Leslie Groves and J Robert Oppenheimer were the two men chiefly responsible for the building of the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos, code name The Manhattan Project As the ranking military officer in charge of marshalling men and material for what was to be the most ambitious, expensive engineering feat in history, it was General Groves who hired Oppenheimer with knowledge of his left wing past , planned facilities that would extract the necessary enriched uranium, and saw to it that nothing interfered with the accelerated research and swift assembly of the weapon This is his story of the political, logistical, and personal problems of this enormous undertaking which involved foreign governments, sensitive issues of press censorship, the construction of huge plants at Hanford and Oak Ridge, and a race to build the bomb before the Nazis got wind of it The role of groves in the Manhattan Project has always been controversial In his new introduction the noted physicist Edward Teller, who was there at Los Alamos, candidly assesses the general s contributionsand Oppenheimer swhile reflecting on the awesome legacy of their work.Groves s astuteness is most clearly demonstrated in that, in spite of every contraindication from the military security division whose value and function he supported and even overestimated, he selected Oppenheimer as scientific director Oppie knew in detail the research going on in every part of the laboratory, and was as excellent at analyzing human problems as the countless technical ones He knew how to lead without seeming to do so.

9 thoughts on “ Now It Can Be Told: The Story Of The Manhattan Project

  1. C. Nielsen C. Nielsen says:

    This excellent book is the story of the Manhattan Project written by the man who was in charge General Groves gives an in depth and very interesting account of how he got involved with the project, how they managed to achieve this scientific breakthrough and how they solved all the problems along the way Although Groves is neither a professional writer or historian this book is well written and quite interesting For anyone interested in history its well worth reading Its only about the project itself so if you want to learn about Groves himself i can highly recommend the book Racing For The Bomb by Robert S.Norris which is a biography of General Groves.It also covers the Manhattan Project

  2. Jonathan Jonathan says:

    This autobiographical account of one massive engineering project, from the man at the top, puts even Apollo in the shade.Oppenheimer described the science challenge and Gen Groves gives us the engineers view, and a remarkable first hand description of the Trinity test.

  3. churchfield27 churchfield27 says:

    Excellent true story

  4. arteebee arteebee says:

    Interesting AND frightening It s no doubt a one sided account but if Project Management is your bag then study this book

  5. Akinlade Akinlade says:

    The duo of the late General Leslie Groves 1922 1970 and Robert J Oppenheimer 1904 1967 were the midwives of the first atomic bomb and the birth of the nuclear age.General Leslie Groves as one of the main actors of those times penned a book that is unbeatably interesting and highly educating My interest in the book delves from the point of view of project management To this end, I was not disappointed at all From the begining to the end, there is no let off You will keep on reading to the last page.The displayed leadership and management efforts needed to guide this monumental project from mere theoretical concepts to practical reality in a relatively short timeframe was quite unparalleled in history Students of management and project managers will find invaluable insights here While I am not celebrating the waste and loss of invaluable lives resulting from World War II or any war for that matter , it is a testament to American ingenuity that a bomb that was decisively important towards winning the war was not yet completely assembled or tested just about three weeks before it was first deployed in the warfront And yet it worked on first try As stated by the author, the first gun type atomic bomb was dropped in combat without a prior test to ascertain if it will work, Nevertheless, the indications for success were strong enough so that no one urged us to change our plans of dropping the first gun type bomb in combat without prior test.From the book, it is clearly evident that, it was World War II that made the development of atomic bomb and atomic energy possible It would have been very difficult for any nation America included to contemplate and commit to such a costly project running into several hundreds of billions of dollars in today s money in the time of peace.I whole heartedly concur with the author that the world is a better place today and is still what it is because America was the first nation to create the atomic bomb and also developed and master nuclear energy One can only imagine what would have happened if such power has fallen into the hands of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, or to Josef Stalin in the hey days of the Soviets The bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11, 2001, the Paris massacres of November 2015, and many others are unimaginably evil Heinous as they were, these atrocities would have paled to mere children plays in comparison to what these terrorists and their sponsoring power hungry individuals and nations would have done if they ever get access to these weapons of calimitous destruction first.NOTABLE EXCERPTS FROM THE BOOKOnly strength can counter an adversary determined to enforce his goals by physical force nothing would be fatal to success than to try to arrive at a perfect plan before taking any important step.I wanted a man who was experienced in the oil industry, feeling that he would be used to making quick, conclusive decisions, based, if necessary, on very limited information I did not want anyone who would always insist on 100 per cent proof before making a move..He reminded me that no weapon developed during a war had ever been decisive in that war.I suggested that the time was fast approaching when we should begin to make plans for the bombing operation itself, even though we still had no assurance that the bomb would be effective a nuclear war could never be fought on this earth without bringing disaster to all mankind if we played it safe, we could never hope to win chances had to be taken.While it is tragic that the forces for destruction that we unleashed are stronger than man s present ability to control them, it is fortunate indeed for humanity that the initiative in this field was gained and kept by the United States.We know now that when man is willing to make the effort, he is capable of accomplishing virtually anything.All quotations and excerpts are from the book Now It Can Be Told The Story of The Manhattan ProjectBy General Leslie Groves Da Capo Press, Inc 1962

  6. Freedom Fighter Freedom Fighter says:

    This memoir, like all memoirs, is especially helpful to students of the Manhattan Project, because it it comes directly from the horse s mouth While there are many good histories of the Project available, this one is uniquely insightful because of its first hand testimony It is a pity that J.R Oppenheimer did not write similar memoirs.

  7. CraigB CraigB says:

    Interesting perspective on one of history s most impressive engineering feat from a project management standpoint General Groves is a project management genius As a project manager, he achieve the impossible on the projects he was assigned His book is a must read on what it takes to be a successful project manager and details the constant struggles large scale projects present My only negative is though several reviewers thought General Groves did not toot his own horn, I is all there his ego as it should be IMHO, he did the impossible under impossible conditions and time constraints using a group of brilliant, unmanageable scientists, engineers, physicists, and bureaucrats He is a major reason that atom weapons were realized and as a result, he helped changed the world s political dynamics forever.

  8. Malcolm Cameron Malcolm Cameron says:

    NOW IT CAN BE TOLDThe story of the Manhattan Project by Leslie R GrovesAcademics record memoirs So the story of the atomic bomb by and about physicists, mathematicians, and other academics are many Military people, in comparison, write less frequently So General Leslie Groves Now it Can be Told fills a unique need, particularly for the post WW2 anti Vietnam generation.The philosophical clash is obvious military discipline v s academic freedom force of arms v s pursuit of knowledge free enquiry v s security with compartmentalization of knowledge freedom v s discipline management v s theoreticians power v s idealism or such comparisons.Groves presents a factual account of the project management being an even greater adventure into the unknown than the first voyage of Columbus in which never in history has anyone embarking had so little certainty as there has never been an improvement in weapons comparable in degree and sudden impact to the atomic bomb From grand construction, security, relations with the British, intelligence from Germany and Japan, often minor detail, plus insights of honesty such as General Eisenhower I have so many things to deal with that it puts an undue burden on me to be given any secret information, as I am forced to think what is secret and what is not Groves shoves the physics into place The need for a sound knowledge of atomic physics was much less vital for it is not extraordinarily difficult for anyone who will apply himself to understand the basic principles of atomic physics He describes the priority of the nation to achieve success partly because of the amazing response of USA firms such as du Pont and Allis Chalmers He dismisses academic anti management advice And when it is all over the withdrawal symptoms are clear.Yet our generation can but wish for personal detail Here is a man who dealt with Einstein, Oppenheimer, Teller, etc plus USA presidents and politicians Here is a disciplined management military general who intersperses, perhaps surprisingly, at least six welcome humorous paragraphs It matters not that the neutron waits 55 pages for a fleeting mention But it is regretful that General Groves neglects his own background, his CV and prior knowledge of physics for example We wait for the third last paragraph of the book to find When I was a boy, I lived with my father in a number of the Army posts that had sprung up during the Indian wars There I came to know many of the old soldiers and scouts who devoted their active lives to winning the West And as I listened to the story of their deeds, I grew somewhat dismayed, wondering what was left for me to do now that the West was won Yet he does not mention that his father was a military pastor.There is sadly no feeling for the inter relationships between Groves and Oppenheimer who he appointed while thoroughly familiar with everything that had been reported about him but gives no detail How theoretical physics cascaded down to management requirements Or even why 1250 tons of uranium ore had been previously mined in the Belgium Congo What for And finally why two bombs, U235 and plutonium, were necessary to end the war and save lives rather than one.In comparison, Groves gives satisfying detail in describing the reaction of captured German physicists including Otto Hahn and Werner Heisenberg to the news If they have really got it, they must have been very clever in keeping it a secret That shows the Americans are capable of real co operation on a tremendous scale.

  9. Stephen Lee Morgan Stephen Lee Morgan says:

    I read another book called, The General and The Genius After reading this book written by Groves himself, I have to say, The Genius wasn t the only Genius Grove traces a path through bureaucracy which outlines a true genius at getting things done Not shocking that the week kneed sister, Eisenhower, denied Groves a larger command for being difficult A nice man could not have cut thru everything that needed to be cut thru to get The Bomb built Grove s final chapter, a retrospective, is worth the price of admission An outstanding page turner