Boston : Little, Brown and Company, 1970. Second printing. Hardcover. 246 pages ; 21 cm. $5.95 dust jacket. Very good copy; no underlines or markings within the pages. Satisfaction guaranteed!
PRINCIPLES OF AMERICAN NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY: A NOVEL is a startling and highly original work of fiction, which paradoxically combines the lightest gaiety with the deepest sense of corruption. Told through the eyes of teenager Timmy McLaurin, whose father is an atomic physicist, the novel captures the special excitement — intellectual, sexual, emotional —which surrounded the Los Alamos laboratories in 1943—1945 and which caught up so many men and women in a scientific project of terrifying import. For Timmy, the atmospheric excitement was directly associated with Maryann, his father's beautiful, elusive mistress. But, for some reason, the vitality, the feeling of the community vanished. Was it because of Maryann's disappearance? Had she been the inspiration for the technological triumphs at Los Alamos? Through the eyes of a child now grown, Thomas McMahon extracts the bittersweet mood of the most remarkable collective effort in the history of science and conveys an overwhelming sense of destiny —good and evil. The author is himself a physicist.
Thomas McMahon was born in 1943 in Dayton, Ohio. He went to public high school in Lexington, Mass., where he participated in cross-country running and track. "I did not often win," he says. grew to understand that somebody has to lose if somebody else is going to win." He went on to receive a B.S. from Cornell and a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from M.I.T. While writing PRINCIPLES OF AMERICAN NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY: A NOVEL he completed his Ph.D. research on a new type of heart assist device for supporting the failing circulation following a heart attack. He is now a postdoctoral fellow in bioengineering at Harvard, a husband and a father.
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