Cover page of the book
|Author||Nancy Thorndike Greenspan|
|Identifiers refer to the book's first edition, printed in 2020, unless otherwise specified.|
Atomic Spy: The Dark Lives of Klaus Fuchs is a 2020 biography of Klaus Fuchs, a so-called atomic spy, by Nancy Thorndike Greenspan. The book was published by Viking Press and received several reviews. Fuchs was a physicist who is best known for passing secrets from the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union during World War II. The book paints a sympathetic picture of Fuchs, ultimately arguing that his crime was done with good intentions, for "the betterment of mankind".Though several reviews noted their opposition to this conclusion and the sympathy the book shows to Fuchs, it has received mostly positive reviews.
Greenspan previously authored the book The End of the Certain World , a biography of the physicist Max Born, in 2005.
Fuchs was a German physicist who is best known as an atomic spy, who passed secrets to the Soviet Union while working on the Manhattan Project during World War II.Fuchs moved to Great Britain from Germany in 1937 to escape the Nazi party, where he began working for Max Born at the University of Edinburgh. Despite having obtained citizenship in Britain, in May 1940, during the Second World War, Fuchs was interned as an alien in Canada along with other German Jews and prisoners of war. He was released later that same year and returned to Britain to work on the British atomic bomb project in Birmingham, during which time he became a Soviet agent. Fuchs was sent to the USA to work on the Manhattan Project in 1943 before returning back to Britain in 1946 for a senior post at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment. Fuchs plead guilty to violating the Official Secrets Act of Great Britain on 2 February 1950 and subsequently served a nine year prison sentence. After his incarceration, he was stripped of his citizenship and was forced to move back to East Germany.
The book was reviewed in Nature by Sharon Weinberger,in The Wall Street Journal by Henry Hemming, in The New York Times by Ronald Radosh, and in the Indian newspaper The Wire by Rudrangshu Mukherjee. In a review by Publishers Weekly , the book was said to be "circumspect" and "richly detailed", with prose that is "more diligent than dynamic", but that it "builds tension by interweaving Fuchs’s scientific and espionage pursuits with MI5’s efforts to unmask him". The review closes by stating that the book "blurs the lines between courage and treachery in thought-provoking ways". Kirkus Reviews wrote that the book "focuses much attention" on Fuchs' early life, "emphasizing his activism over his research and portraying a likable if bland character who regretted only betraying his friends". The review noted that the book spends only thirty pages discussing the Manhattan Project but spends over a hundred pages on the developments of the case against Fuchs and his trial. The review closed with a paragraph of its own stating: "An appealing biography of a productive spy." In his review, Henry Hemming wrote began by outlining Fuchs life and introduced the book asking the question: "Do we need another book on Fuchs?" Hemming goes on to say that the answer is apparently "yes" and that the book "gives us fresh and fascinating insights into Fuchs’s formative years". The book has also been reviewed in other periodicals as well, including Library Journal . Among other acclamations, the book was included in an editor's choice list by The New York Times Book Review for "10 New Books We Recommend This Week" for the week of 18 June 2020. The book was also included in a list of "5 books not to miss" in USA Today on 9 May 2020.
In her review, Sharon Weinberger wrote that the book "weaves extensive archival research into a deeply nuanced and sympathetic portrait of a scientist-spy with the best of intentions"and that "even those who might disagree with Thorndike Greenspan’s charitable portrayal will find much to appreciate about a narrative that captures the heated politics of an era with lessons for our own." In his review, Rudrangshu Mukherjee wrote that the book "reconstructs the life and career of Fuchs through detailed research and a riveting narrative" and does a "superb" job of describing the development of the case against Fuchs as a spy for Russia.
In his review, Ronald Radosh wrote that Greenspan provides an "enthralling and riveting account" that "brought together new material that rounds out Fuchs’s life".He went on to write that, compared to other books on Fuchs, the book was "particularly thorough and revealing" in discussing Fuchs' childhood earlier years in Germany and that the "pages on the interrogation and the decision about what to do with Fuchs are the most complete account available, and read like a detective novel." In analyzing the book, Rodash noted a speculation that Greenspan made concerning Russia's stockpile of nuclear weapons and demurred at Greenspan's proposition that Fuchs spied for "the betterment of mankind" as an ex post facto explanation, writing that Greenspan's own work showed that Fuchs spied because he truly believed in communism and the Soviet Union.
Klaus Emil Julius Fuchs was a German theoretical physicist and atomic spy who supplied information from the American, British, and Canadian Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union during and shortly after World War II. While at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fuchs was responsible for many significant theoretical calculations relating to the first nuclear weapons and, later, early models of the hydrogen bomb. After his conviction in 1950, he served nine years in prison in the United Kingdom and then moved to East Germany where he resumed his career as a physicist and scientific leader.
Theodore Alvin Hall was an American physicist and an atomic spy for the Soviet Union, who, during his work on US efforts to develop the first and second atomic bombs during World War II, gave a detailed description of the "Fat Man" plutonium bomb, and of several processes for purifying plutonium, to Soviet intelligence. His brother, Edward N. Hall, was a rocket scientist who worked on intercontinental ballistic missiles for the United States government.
Cold War espionage describes the intelligence gathering activities during the Cold War between the Western allies and the Eastern Bloc. Both relied on a wide variety of military and civilian agencies in this pursuit.
Julius Rosenberg and Ethel Rosenberg were American citizens who were convicted of spying on behalf of the Soviet Union. The couple was accused of providing top-secret information about radar, sonar, jet propulsion engines, and valuable nuclear weapon designs; at that time the United States was the only country in the world with nuclear weapons. Convicted of espionage in 1951, they were executed by the federal government of the United States in 1953 in the Sing Sing correctional facility in Ossining, New York, becoming the first American civilians to be executed for such charges and the first to suffer that penalty during peacetime.
Ronald Radosh is an American writer, professor, historian and former Marxist. As described in his memoirs, Radosh was—like his parents—a member of the Communist Party of the United States of America until the Khrushchev thaw. Subsequently, he became a New Left and anti-Vietnam War activist.
The Soviet atomic bomb project was the classified research and development program that was authorized by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union to develop nuclear weapons during World War II.
Alan Nunn May was a British physicist, and a confessed and convicted Soviet spy, who supplied secrets of British and United States atomic research to the Soviet Union during World War II.
David Greenglass was an atomic spy for the Soviet Union who worked on the Manhattan Project. He was briefly stationed at the Clinton Engineer Works uranium enrichment facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and then worked at the Los Alamos Laboratory in New Mexico from August 1944 until February 1946.
Harry Gold was an American laboratory chemist who is known for having been convicted as a courier for the Soviet Union to pass atomic secrets from Klaus Fuchs, an agent of the Soviet Union, during World War II. Gold served as a government witness and testified in the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted and executed in 1953 for their roles. Gold served 15 years in prison.
Lona Cohen, born Leontine Theresa Petka, also known as Helen Kroger, was an American who spied for the Soviet Union. She is known for her role in smuggling atomic bomb diagrams out of Los Alamos. She was a communist activist before marrying Morris Cohen. The couple became spies because of their communist beliefs.
Perseus was the code name of a hypothetical Soviet atomic spy that, if real, would have allegedly breached United States national security by infiltrating Los Alamos National Laboratory during the development of the Manhattan Project, and consequently, would have been instrumental for the Soviets in the development of nuclear weapons.
Joel Barr, also Iozef Veniaminovich Berg and Joseph Berg, was part of the Soviet Atomic Spy Ring.
Lieutenant General Pavel Mikhailovich Fitin was a Soviet intelligence officer who was the director of Soviet intelligence during World War II, identified in the Venona cables under the code name "Viktor."
Atomic spies or atom spies were people in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada who are known to have illicitly given information about nuclear weapons production or design to the Soviet Union during World War II and the early Cold War. Exactly what was given, and whether everyone on the list gave it, are still matters of some scholarly dispute. In some cases, some of the arrested suspects or government witnesses had given strong testimonies or confessions which they recanted later or said were fabricated. Their work constitutes the most publicly well-known and well-documented case of nuclear espionage in the history of nuclear weapons. At the same time, numerous nuclear scientists wanted to share the information with the world scientific community, but this proposal was firmly quashed by the United States government.
Nuclear espionage is the purposeful giving of state secrets regarding nuclear weapons to other states without authorization (espionage). There have been many cases of known nuclear espionage throughout the history of nuclear weapons and many cases of suspected or alleged espionage. Because nuclear weapons are generally considered one of the most important of state secrets, all nations with nuclear weapons have strict restrictions against the giving of information relating to nuclear weapon design, stockpiles, delivery systems, and deployment. States are also limited in their ability to make public the information regarding nuclear weapons by non-proliferation agreements.
Diana West is a nationally syndicated conservative American columnist and author. She writes a weekly column which frequently deals with controversial subjects such as Islam and is syndicated by Universal Uclick and appears in about 120 newspapers and news sites. She is the author of the books The Death of the Grown Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization and American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character.
Nuclear Secrets, aka Spies, Lies and the Superbomb, is a 2007 BBC Television docudrama series which looks at the race for nuclear supremacy from the Manhattan Project through to Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme.
Robert J. Lamphere was former an agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) involved in the cases of atomic spies Klaus Fuchs, Harry Gold, Julius Rosenberg, and Ethel Rosenberg, as well as British spy Kim Philby. "He had a hand in every major Soviet spy case from the end of World War II through the mid-1950s."
The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born is a biography of Max Born by Nancy Thorndike Greenspan that was initially published in 2005 by Basic Books. It was the first book-length biography of Born, a Nobel laureate and one of the founders of quantum mechanics. The book was critically acclaimed and was reviewed by Publishers Weekly, David C. Cassidy, Kurt Gottfried, Graham Farmelo, and Cathryn Carson, among others.
Nancy Thorndike Greenspan is an American author specializing in biographies. She is known for writing the biography of notable physicist Max Born,The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born: The Nobel Physicist Who Ignited the Quantum Revolution.