CHASING HEISENBERG by Michael Joseloff (Tunisia)

Michael Joseloff (Tunisia 1967-69) just published, on January 9, 2018, an Amazon eBook Chasing Heisenberg: The Race for the Atom Bomb that tells the story of The Manhattan Project through the lives of three top Allied scientists and Hitler’s chief atomic scientist, a former friend, turned bitter enemy.

Joseloff’s interest in the atom bomb dates back to 1993, when he produced a segment for The NewsHour on the “father of the bomb,” J. Robert Oppenheimer. Michael is a four-time Emmy Award-winning news and documentary producer. He was a producer with The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (PBS) from 1983 to 1995. His documentaries have aired on PBS, including the acclaimed series FRONTLINE, The History Channel, Discovery, CNBC, A&E, and other major cable TV channels.

As Michael related, “The Peace Corps started me down the road that eventually led to Chasing Heisenberg.  I used USAID supplied documentaries in my teaching in Tunisia.  One week they sent me a film of Apollo 8 circling the moon.  My students were mesmerized. They couldn’t understand the famous earthrise shot with the moon in the foreground and the earth behind. That experience led me to a career producing documentaries, which led to a job at MacNeil/Lehrer where I produced a segment on J. Robert Oppenheimer which led me to write Chasing Heisenberg.” 

This is the story Michael tells in Chasing Heisenberg.

After a devastating run of German victories, Allied troops are beginning to halt Hitler’s advance. But far from the battlefields, Allied scientists are struggling.

Intelligence reports put them a distant second behind the Germans in a competition that could determine the outcome of the war: the race to build the world’s first nuclear weapon.

For the Allies’ top scientists, the race is deeply personal. J. Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Samuel Goudsmit have known Hitler’s chief atomic scientist, Werner Heisenberg, for years. A brilliant, world-renowned physicist and once a good friend, he’s anti-Nazi, but also a loyal German.

Fear that he’s put country first and is building a bomb haunts Oppenheimer and Fermi all through their months and years developing the Allied bomb. That same anxiety drives Goudsmit, now a top Allied intelligence officer, to risk his life as he attempts to track down Heisenberg and the site of Hitler’s suspected atom bomb program.




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