John Gray

Bright Shining Splinters

Inside the Centre: The Life of J Robert Oppenheimer

By

Jonathan Cape 832pp £30 order from our bookshop

Describing his reaction to the testing of the atomic bomb in New Mexico on 16 July 1945, Robert Oppenheimer recalled:

We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita: Vishnu is trying to persuade the prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says: ‘Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or other.  

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