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About the Creator and Performer

Edward G. Lengel is Senior Director of Programs for the National World War II Museum’s Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. Former Chief Historian of the White House Historical Association, Lengel is a co-recipient of the National Humanities Medal and has made frequent television and radio appearances on The History Channel, SiriusXM, and National Public Radio. Among his 14 books on American history are To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918*; and Never in Finer Company: The Men of the Great War’s Lost Battalion. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia, where he also taught for many years.

What listeners say about Generals and Geniuses: A History of the Manhattan Project

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Excellent lecture

Excellent presentation. Thoroughly researched. Successful at introducing dozens of critical people and weaving their contributions to the project into the overall narrative. Just the right amount of scientific information without bogging the lecture down in physics. A must listen for anybody who wants to delve deeper Into this important piece of American history.

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Authentic and engaging!

Your diction/ clarity of reading the text to us - delightful!
and use of phrasing and pausing; so easy to listen to and not the lost! - superb!
The DETAILS, skillfully used, made me FEEL I WAS THERE! - engaging!
The rich authentic details….the temp of the weather/ the day of the week, the substance of a letter, the detail of a “wife that began drinking….. OMG! I felt like I KNEW these people!
I don’t LIKE history/ never felt I understood it or why it was important….BUT!! I could listen to you on ANY history subject….and ‘get it’ and be enthralled!

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Surprisingly Engaging

I enjoy listening to The Great Courses, even the tiny bite-sized Audible Original ones that have come out lately. I was surprised by how interesting this one was. I think that's largely due to how it made historical personalities come to life - not just one or two, but many. Quick humanizing anecdotes and character descriptions make it easy to see those involved as vibrant personalities. This is more than a list of names and dates.

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good for free

this was a decent survey of the players behind the Manhattan project. no great detail went into any one of them however leaving the painting a bit monochromatic. but it was free and good for a 2 hour drive so....

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Brilliant people who achieved the impossible

As I read this I began to wonder about the distribution of genius and how lucky we were to get so many brilliant people on the same side at the right time. How each player in their own scientific pigeon-hole made the scientific leap that enabled another scientist to progress their own research. In reality it seems like they created a scientific chain-reaction.

The personalities of the scientists are discussed throughout the book and you can imagine the rivalries and personality clashes that must have occurred and the behind-the-scenes psychology that must have taken place to keep them on track.

The book has a logical progression from start to end against the backdrop of politics and the progress of WW2. I also gained immense respect for the American can-do attitude and commitment to building the mega-facilities needed to refine the uranium and plutonium in what was then a giant scientific experiment. And you can't ignore the military minds that had to make the hard decisions and drive the scientists to the necessary end-point.

It makes you wish you could time-travel to tell these folks how much we appreciate their work and how we didn't use their invention to destroy the world.

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Pleasantly surprised

Detailed in 5 hour listen on audible. Wow. Many details provided i was not aware if previously and in what i thought was a good understanding.

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One of the better Great Courses series.

This is one of the better of The Great Courses to which I’ve listened. In short, this is a summary of the development of the theory and technologies leading to the of deployment of atomic bombs by the U.S. against Japan. It provides thumbnail sketches of many of the key scientific, military, and political players, and includes some of the complex and hotly contested moral considerations and controversies surrounding atomic weapons.

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Good summary

Having studied this episode in world history throughout my life, I would say this is a fair summary of the background and relevant details in the early development and application of nuclear weapons. Well done.

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Well told story.

Interesting part of our history well told. Lots of names so I will have to listen again but I found it very enjoyable.

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what a book!

great courses delivers again, what a great in depth discussion over the Manhattan project. I loved it and can't think highly enough of this book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-11-22

Interesting History

Excellent coverage on the Manhattan Project with perfect narration. Now I can't wait to see the Chris Nolan's upcoming movie Oppenheimer.

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  • BSG_Fan
  • 05-01-22

Bombs away

A thoroughly riveting and fascinating story. So much of this tale, with its terrible ending that I didn’t know. Applying the usual test; would I listen to it again? A definite yes, I could happily listen to it again straight away, and will on my next long drive ;-D