Herken, Gregg (Franklin) 1947-
HERKEN, Gregg (Franklin) 1947-
PERSONAL: Born May 23, 1947, in Richmond, CA; son of Bernard (a lawyer) and Marguerite (an executive secretary) Herken. Education: University of California, Santa Cruz, A.B. (history and government), 1969; Princeton University, M.A., 1971, Ph.D., 1974.
CAREER: University of California, Berkeley, research associate in U.S. history at Institute of International Studies, 1973-74; University of California, Santa Cruz, lecturer in history, 1974-75; California State University, San Luis Obispo, lecturer in history, 1975-77; Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH, assistant professor of history, 1978; Yale University, New Haven, CT, associate professor of U.S. history, 1978-85; University of California, Santa Cruz, Cowell College, senior research associate, 1985—. National Air & Space Museum, Smithsonian Institute, currently member of staff.
MEMBER: American Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.
AWARDS, HONORS: Grant from Harry S. Truman Library Institute, 1976; Fulbright-Hayes fellowship for Sweden, 1978.
The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War, 1945-1950, Knopf (New York, NY), 1981.
Counsels of War, Knopf (New York, NY), 1985.
The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War, 1945-1950: With a New Preface, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1988.
Cardinal Choices: Presidential Science Advising from the Atomic Bomb to SDI, Oxford University Press (New York, NY), 1992.
Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller, Holt (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to anthologies, including The Atomic Bomb: The Critical Issues, edited by Barton Bernstein, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1976; and To Avoid Catastrophe: A Study in Future Weapons Policy, edited by Michael Hamilton, Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1978.
SIDELIGHTS: Gregg Herken explores both political and scientific aspects of the nuclear arms race in his highly acclaimed books The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War, 1945-1950 and Counsels of War. Laboring under the belief that the subject of nuclear-weapons policy is not beyond the comprehension of the average citizen, Herken writes for the general reader as well as for the scholarly community. According to Daniel Yergin in the Washington Post Book World, Herken's The Winning Weapon offers "a carefully researched, lucid and searching history of the connection of the atomic bomb to American diplomacy and relations with the Soviet Union after World WarII. It is a work that illuminates some of the most basic dilemmas and challenges that the United States faces today." Chicago Tribune Book World contributor Richard Rhodes also praised Herken's work as "rock solid in documentation, scrupulous in its argument, and devastating in its conclusion that we naively depend on a weapon to see us through that we didn't have in quantity and that couldn't do what we daydreamed it might."
In 1992's Cardinal Choices: Presidential Science Advising from the Atomic Bomb to SDI, Herken focuses on the men who have advised U.S. presidents on scientific matters since the time Harry S. Truman gave the order to use the atomic bomb on the Japanese to end World War II. Though American scientists had official roles on presidential staffs until Richard M. Nixon abolished the President's Science Advisory Committee, Herken maintains that scientific influence over the White House has never been strong. He also believes that the scientists advising the Reagan and first Bush administrations learned to understand the concept of political expediency. According to Keith L. Nelson in Science, "one of the most fascinating revelations of Herken's study is the way in which [atomic scientist] Edward Teller repeatedly turns up at critical moments in the history of America's involvement in the Cold War." The critic went on to conclude that Cardinal Choices is "a thoughtful and comprehensive survey of a significant relationship and at the same time a convincing plea for change."
Herken takes a more biographical approach in 2002's Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller. Critics responded well to this account of three of the most important scientists involved in the development of the atom bomb. Gilbert Taylor in Booklist praised the volume as a "painstakingly researched and dispassionate presentation" and compared it favorably with author Richard Rhodes's Dark Star: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb. Similarly, Jim Doyle in Library Journal maintained that Brotherhood of the Bomb "is one of the most important books to come out of America's nuclear era" since Rhodes's work.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Scientist, March-April, 1994, William T. Golden, review of Cardinal Choices: Presidential Science Advising from the Atomic Bomb to SDI, p. 179.
Booklist, August, 2002, Gilbert Taylor, review of Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller, p. 1902.
Chicago Tribune Book World, March 1, 1981.
Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2002, review of Brotherhood of the Bomb, p. 1095.
Library Journal, July, 2002, Jim Doyle, review of Brotherhood of the Bomb, p. 96.
Los Angeles Times, June 5, 1981.
Nature, September 3, 1992, John de la Mothe, review of Cardinal Choices, p. 26.
New York Times, September 20, 2002, Michiko Kakutani, review of Brotherhood of the Bomb, p. B37.
New York Times Book Review September 15, 2002, David A. Hollinger, review of Brotherhood of the Bomb, p. 37.
Physics Today, February, 1993, Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky, review of Cardinal Choices, p. 82.
Publishers Weekly, July 1, 2002, review of Brotherhood of the Bomb, p. 67.
Science, May 15, 1992, Keith L. Nelson, review of Cardinal Choices, pp. 1042-1043.
Technology Review, February-March, 1993, Daniel S. Greenberg, review of Cardinal Choices, p. 66.
Washington Post Book World, May 10, 1981, April 14, 1985.
Wilson Quarterly, spring, 1992, p. 100.*
"Herken, Gregg (Franklin) 1947-." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 17, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/herken-gregg-franklin-1947
"Herken, Gregg (Franklin) 1947-." Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series. . Retrieved February 17, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/herken-gregg-franklin-1947
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