Nonfiction | February 12, 2013

On October 19, 1942, nearly eleven months after the United States declared war on Japan, Major General Leslie Groves, the military head of what came to be known as the Manhattan Project, sat with Robert Oppenheimer on the Twentieth Century Limited. They must have appeared an odd pair—Groves with his bulldog face and elephantine body sitting across from Oppenheimer, his frame nearly skeletal in its thinness as he fidgeted and chain-smoked Chesterfields. At an undefined point as the train sped between Chicago and New York, Groves made his decision about the scientific leadership for the bomb, “the Gadget,” as some subsequent combination of secrecy and perversity named it.

This essay is not currently available online.

If you are a student, faculty member, or staff member at an institution whose library subscribes to Project Muse, you can read this piece and the full archives of the Missouri Review for free. Check this list to see if your library is a Project Muse subscriber.