James Thackara
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America's Children
First Edition, 1984, Chatto and Windus, London
Republished by Overlook Press, 2001

Online Reviews

There are numerous reviews of Thackara’s novels available on the web and even more that may have been dropped because of the passage of time. The lists that follow are not intended to be complete. Rather they seek to present some of the more representative and insightful discussion.

For comprehensive listings, consult the Lexis-Nexus database as well as the Electric Library hyperlinks.

AMERICA'S CHILDREN. By James Thackara. 330pp. Woodstock, NY: Overlook. $26.95; distributed in the UK by Turnaround. Pounds 18.99. - 1 58567 111 8.

America's Children, which was first published in Britain in 1984 and in the US last year, is a proudly ambitious and aggressive novel, reminding the reader of the power and scope that fiction can attain. James Thackara's story follows the enigmatic Robert J. Oppenheimer and his supporting cast of European physicists from their gathering in the Mexican desert to create an atomic bomb to their post-war fate during the nuclear armament and HUAC investigations. While these eccentric characters may be the focus of the novel, their prominence in it is matched by Thackara's insistence that we grasp the greater, more fundamental philosophical questions that tormented them in their life-work.

Thackara expects quite a lot from the reader. The novel is full of the names of historically significant European scholars, their various teacher-student connections before they fled Europe and their competing ideas on the newest scientific theories. The characters are highly intelligent, and their banter reflects the "membership mentality" of intellectual equals in academic circles.

Conversations are peppered with intellectual witticisms and references to shared friends and past political experiences. Such detail, however, can leave the reader feeling slightly alienated as if on the periphery of an exclusive group speaking a cryptic language. And Thackara's expansive and highly dramatic prose can prove tiresome. While the story's historical setting and the characters' fear of a possible Armageddon warrant an extreme emotional response, at times the novel reads too melodramatically. Characters constantly (and "suddenly") experience moral clarity or confusion, profound guilt or elation. Each one seems hyperaware of his or her raw, innermost emotions.

But Thackara masterfully conveys Oppenheimer's longing to help those suffering under totalitarian regimes, his frustration at being distanced from their struggle, his desire for knowledge to become action, and his guilt when his own knowledge and action become irrepressible power in the hands of the government.

America's Children is a novel with big themes -were these men Frankensteins and Prometheuses? -but the story is not formulaic and James Thackara presses us to understand the complexity of the situation and the varied passions inspiring the men who created the most destructive weapon on earth. - Ashley Brown.

The Spectator Magazine
Ray Monk AMERICA'S CHILDREN by James Thackara The Overlook Press $26 95, pp. 330, ISBN 1585671118. 'Truth of fact and truth of fiction are incompatible,' ... More...

... the best of which is James Thackara's America's Children (1984). Even here, these scientists are troubled, but they are neither mad nor evil. ... More...


America's children / James Thackara. It is a multi-layered story of Christian and Marxist values; of love of family and land; of invisible high energy ... More...

The Biography Book: A Reader's Guide to Nonfiction, Fictional, and ...
Biographical Novels Thackara, James. America's Children. London: Chatto & Windus, 1984. 330pp. Oppenheimer's personality and career are portrayed in this ... More...

This is the mode of James Thackara's America's Children, and it would seem of the forthcoming John Adam's opera Dr Atomic. While artistically satisfying ... More...

Author: Thackara, James Publisher: Overlook $ 26.95 ISBN: 1585671118 Date: 2001 star Booklist Thackara's debut novel, published in the U.S. for the first ... More...


America's Children, by James Thackara '67 (Overlook Press, $26.95). Thackara is an American working in London. His vast World War II novel, ... More...

Stallion Gate;C. P. Snow: The New Men; James Thackara:. America’s Children; Frank Waters: The Woman at Otowi. Crossing; and Thomas Wiseman: Savage Day. ... More...

"America's Children" by James Thackara (Overlook). The debut novel by the expatriate American writer ("The Book of Kings"), about Robert Oppenheimer and the ... More...

Thackara, James. America's Children. London: Chatto & Windus, 1984. New York: Overlook, 2001. A fascinating, well-researched, extraordinarily detailed ... More...

Thackara, James. America’s Children. The Overlook Press, 2001. Thorpe, Charles. Oppenheimer: The Tragic Intellect. University of Chicago Press, 2006. ... More...

A richly textured historical novel centered around the father of the American nuclear weapons program chronicles the life and times of J. Robert Oppenheimer ... More...

James Thackara -- he is also the author of ''The Book of Kings'' (1999), a rambling novel about the rise of Nazism -- traces Oppenheimer's progress from his ... More...

by: James Thackara. Publisher: Overlook Press, The. ISBN: 1585671118. Hardcover: 330 Pages, $26.95. Category: Fiction. Reviewer: Dan Bogey ... More...

by James Thackara. ISBN-10: 0701127813. ISBN-13: 978-0701127817 ... scholar to calculate just how much of Thackara's version is true, how much romanticized. ... More...

America's Children, by James Thackara '67 (Overlook Press, $26.95). Thackara is an American working in London. His vast World War II novel, ... More...

By Thackara, James Publication: Kirkus Reviews Date: Monday, January 15 2001. Preachy and grandly tragic portrait of the artist as a young A-bomb-maker. ... More...

James Thackara. Overlook Press, New York, 2001 ISBN 1-58567-111-8 330 pp This novel, first published in Britain 19 years ago, dramatizes the life and career ... More...

Thackara, James. America's children. London: Chatto & Windus; Hogarth Press, 1984. 330 p. ENMU MESA NMSU SFP Oppenheimer, J. Robert Thackrey, Ted. Preacher. ... More...

In a notable New Yorker article three years ago, James Thackara was lauded as an unknown American genius. Last year, his supposedly unpublishable ... More...

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