Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II

Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II

3.5 12
by Jennet Conant

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Gale Group
Publication date:
Biography Ser.
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.81(h) x 1.41(d)

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Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent biography of a fascinating early-mid 20th century Renaissance Man-brilliant financier, scientist and patriot. A must for those interested in the early history of the Manhattan Project, American applied physics and technology. Also, a good insight into the mores of wealthy WASPs who lived in Tuxedo Park, NY
Guest More than 1 year ago
A fascinating story about a fascinating man and his little-known accomplishments. He had wealth and social cachet, he had the curiosity of a true science buff, he had great managerial and entrepreneurial ability, and he had almost limitless powers of persuasion, . On top of all that he had a commanding appearance, so handsome that Liam Neeson must surely play him in the movie. His history has been engagingly told by Jennet Conant, grandaughter of the "pasty-faced apothecary" who once ruled Harvard and contributed mightily to the Manhattan Project. If I give the book fewer than five stars, it is because I am less than persuaded by Ms. Conant's starry-eyed evaluation of her subject. For example, Chapter 3 deals with the decade of the 1920's, the years in which the foundations of modern physics were being laid. Yet the words'quantum mechanics' do not appear anywhere in the text of this chapter nor even in the index. Absent quantum mechanics, I find it hard to regard Loomis as a true physicist; rather he was a gifted tinkerer or gadgeteer in the classical mode. In particular, despite Ms. Conant, he will not bear comparison with the greatest of all science amateurs, John William Strutt, Third Baron of Rayleigh. The essential difference is that Loomis does not seem to have known any mathematics, without which no true physicist can function, whereas Lord Rayleigh was an applied mathematician of genius as well as a great experimentalist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I doubt very seriously that without her family's obvious connections this author's work would have seen the light of day. A mediocre handling of a potentially marvelous story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For people like me, who enjoy seeng the war from various points of view, this is a great book. Buy it, read it, and enjoy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was OBSESSED with the purchase of this book, since seeing the author on tv (i am not an avid reader). The fact that the author is related to the parties in this amazing, but untold, piece of history even made me want to read it more. Ms. Conant writes in such a way as not to get bogged down in scientific writing, but in the personal tale of her family and those involved. This is the story about the truely gifted and patriotic bunch of genius' drawn together to twart one of the worst regimes in history. Here you see the formation of the secret lab at Tuxedo Park, and while everyone knows Albert Einstein, Neils Bohr, and Robert Oppenheimer; hopefully after this book we will now remember James Conant, and Alfred Lee Loomis. I cannot remember the last book i actually devoured like this. My highest compliments to the author for getting me away from the tv, and into the quiet world of reading this page turner. thanks Nancy Mac
Guest More than 1 year ago
although a bit dry in some spots. There was a lot to be learned from this book such as how the political machinery was oiled in the 1940's, some basic physics and just who was Alfred Lee Loomis. Pretty fascinating material that might be a more interesting read as told in the roman a clef, Brain Waves and Death, written by Willard Rich (a pseudonym), James B. Conant's brother-in-law, which is essentially the original story of what went on at Tuxedo Park including the eventual suicide of its author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating glimpse into the world of high finance, high level physics, and intrigue during WWII. Biography of little known key player in development of radar and nuclear energy. Filled with personal glimpses of major movers and shakers from 1920 to 1945. Reads almost like a Great Gatsby. WKG
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book that combines an interesting description of life in the 1920's and 1930's with a boring, superficial recitation of Alfred Loomis's involvement with science. The fact of the matter is that Mr. Loomis was extremely wealthy (so as to buy his way into scientific circles) because of family connections and because he engaged in insider trading during the 20's and got out just before the Crash. For instance, Mr. Loomis was stationed at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds during WWI because he was a relative of the Secretary of Defense so a phone call was made.... The author (another relative) justifies Loomis's conduct before the Crash because 'Nothing he did was illegal.' But after the Crash, laws were passed to specifically make what he did illegal. His story, then, is the same as Kenneth Lay with the difference that he has now had a glowing biography written about him. The author seems clueless as to all of this, and it hurts the book that she is apparently too close to the subject to be objective. As to the science, I don't feel the author has any real understanding of what science Loomis was involved in, and, as a consequence, she is unable to describe it to a lay reader. As a result, the latter part of the book reads like a series of press releases describing people running hither and thither. All and all, if you want to read about the science of this era, read 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb,' by Rhodes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is well documented, otherwise it would be unbelievable. I especially love the story of the actual trip of English radar parts 'the Tizard Mission' and the accidental discovery on how to get more energy from the magnitron. This personal touch about icons and their developements before and during WW II makes the book priceless. Alfred Loomis, a millionaire broker and lawyer, dabbled in science. He did the ground work for today's technology, radar, atomic energy, GPS. He collected friends, especially, European scientists, and would pay them to live at his expense, while they conducted experiments at Tuxedo Park. Before WW II, he was already published in medical, astronomy and physics journals. The book lists 5 pages of his publications and patents. He was able to foresee what our needs would be during WW II. He had to fight the military in getting them to accept that radar was needed. Then he presented the concept of radar in planes and on ships. When he went to Europe, he made connections that helped save the British Isles and for us to fight a successful war on two fronts. Not only did Loomis bring the scientific community together, but helped this community to stay focused on their own projects, in spite of jealousy or another project looking like it would be more fun. After the first two chapters, Conent is business-like in writing a book of this magnitude. She does an excellent job of explainning the importance of the work in layman's language most of the time. Conant's writing is uneven at first, because she seems to be trying to establish her creditals as a family member and her social status with Alfred Loomis. In this you can see the bad effects from writing for GQ, Vanity Fair, etc. Conent also tries to tell this story centered around a scientist relative, who killed himself. It greatly improves after she gets into the account. Hornfischer, author of 'The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors', is really impressed on how the ships' guns were controlled by a computer that read the radar. This is one of the projects that Alfred Loomis helped fund from his own bank account. Because of Loomis' financial connections, he was able to talk General Electric, Bell Laboratories and othe big companies to both fund and finish developing projects.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This books reveals the significantimpact Alfred Lee Loomis had on the outcome of Word War II. He gathered together the most brilliant scientic minds of the times to explore the development and use of new weapons of war. His private funding and the promoting of scientific research within the scientific community had a great impact on World War II. As a distant cousin, I am pleased to see that his story is now coming to light.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago