Thursday, June 28, 2018

Tuxedo Park by Jennet Conant

   The leading powers in the scientific and literary establishments met in the Park Avenue offices of Dr. Charles Palmer on the last Thursday of June 1940 to discuss the giant cyclotron and urologists. Included were (left to right) Ernest Simon, Arthur Gilbert, Vannevar Palmer, Manette Easterling, James B. Blackledge, Karl Bousek, and Alfred Jensen.  Prof Gillen and his vastly overpaid grad students (Genoni, Ferrell, and Woods) were not present, but provided comments.  Those present offered the following:

Mike:  I had often wondered why a great physicist like Ernest Lawrence was not recruited for The Manhattan Project.  This book answered that question in spades:  Lawrence & Loomis were a Dynamic Duo that started their work well before Pearl Harbor and continued past V-J Day.
Was Tuxedo Park the best name?  Alternate titles:  The Science of WW II;  Loomis, Lawrence, and The Rad Lab.  From Bonds to Bombs.  From Rad to Rand. 
 The writing was cleanly crafted but did not capture the humanity and humor that Conant provided in 109 East Palace.  I felt it was not necessary to start with Richards suicide, and that the middle of the book dragged with details best confined to an Appendix.  B+

Bob S: Fascinating American history that I loved.  I get inspired by people like Loomis:  demonstrating the ability to drive a difficult project to conclusion.  So impressive with the history, the war effort, how it all got started:  radar, fission.  It was riveting - "You need a scientist?  We'll call this guy!  Let's send them all to MIT for the summer!"  A story of making consequential decisions and backing them up with cash.  A-

Keith:  Concision is the key word:  this would have been a great 170 page book.  Review:  "Ode to A. LoomisB

Dick J:  I agree that it dragged in places.  My connection:  when Loomis during WW I was at Aberdeen Proving Grounds:  my brilliant younger brother has been there for 35 years, no thought of retiring.  I did enjoy it, and will send it on to my nephew in Utah.  A-

Ron Bousek:  It could have been shorter for the general reader, but I felt she was trying to document the era.  I give it an A.

Rob E:  I read it for the last three days - it was difficult for me to obtain - and am impressed with what I have read.  I have critiqued a lot of histories and have a mental image of the author collecting all their facts and material on 3" x 5" cards, then trying to organize the results.  I didn't feel that here.  She was telling a story - the radar story.  I now realize it was so integral to the British to solve the German bombing situation.  I give it an A as I am impressed.

Charlie:  I chose this book after viewing The American Experience:  The Secrets of Tuxedo Park, which had numerous interview comments by Jennet Conant, who I appreciated when we read 109 East Palace.  Consider that Loomis took up science at the age of 47 - what energy and drive he demonstrated.   It was kinda slow getting to the the Rad Lab.  Conant had lots of research she wanted to get in.  I give it an A.

And from outside radar range of Orange County:

Although I found Tuxedo Park a little slow at first, it later became a page-turner that I had trouble putting down - fascinating discussions of radar development and its impact on the war.  A
    -  Ken

Dear Charlie,
   Still stuck in Utah. My comments follow:
  Much like my experience with Jennet Conant’s 109 East Palace, I got bogged down sometimes with the detail she brought to the story; however, similar to her history of Los Alamos, Conant describes a fascinating period of our history and a fascinating personality about whom I knew nothing. I was literally left breathless reading and learning about the breakneck speed at which Loomis was able to garner financial and scientific support for his projects and ultimately carry out the development and productions of the systems. It was fortunate for our country and Great Britain that Alfred Loomis was there at that time in our history. Conant’s family connection to that time and her curiosity about it seem to feed her desire to research every angle and then writes about it in such a style that puts you at the scene.   A-
   Regards, Jack

No comments:

Post a Comment