Martin Sherwin, Prize-winning Biographer of Oppenheimer, Dies at 84


Reviewing “American Prometheus,” Janet Maslin of The New York Times described it as “a work of voluminous scholarship and lucid insight, unifying its multifaceted portrait with a keen grasp of Oppenheimer’s essential nature.”

That nature, she wrote, expressed itself in “charm and bravado on the surface, Dostoyevskian darkness underneath.”

Martin Jay Sherwin was born on July 2, 1937, in Brooklyn to Harold and Mimi (Karp) Sherwin. His father was a kids’s clothes producer, and his mom was a homemaker who labored as a secretary to assist pay for her son’s school tuition.

After graduating from James Madison High School, he enrolled in Dartmouth aspiring to pursue a profession in medication, then dabbled in geology and philosophy. He ended up graduating with a bachelor’s diploma in historical past in 1959.

He served within the Navy as an intelligence officer in Japan and Hawaii, then earned a doctorate in diplomatic historical past in 1971 at the University of California, Los Angeles. His dissertation turned the premise for “A World Destroyed,” his first e book, which recommended that President Harry S. Truman’s determination to make use of atomic weapons had much less to do with ending the battle than with intimidating the Soviets.

In 1980, Dr. Sherwin joined the school of Tufts University, the place he established the Nuclear Age History and Humanities Center. He and Evgeny Velikhov, a Russian physicist, arrange a project by which college students and students at Tufts and Moscow State University got here collectively by satellite tv for pc TV. Dr. Sherwin retired from Tufts in 2007 as professor emeritus. He additionally taught at George Mason and Princeton Universities.

In addition to his spouse, Susan (Smukler) Sherwin, he’s survived by a son, Alex; a sister, Marjorie Sherwin; and 4 grandchildren. His daughter, Andrea Sherwin, died of most cancers in 2010.



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