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Tuxedo Park: A Wall Street Tycoon and the Secret Palace of Science That Changed the Course of World War II

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  857 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
The untold story of an eccentric Wall Street tycoon and the circle of scientific geniuses he assembled before World War II to develop the science for radar and the atomic bomb. Together they changed the course of history.

Legendary financier, philanthropist, and society figure Alfred Lee Loomis gathered the most visionary scientific minds of the twentieth century—Albert Ein
Paperback, 330 pages
Published May 6th 2003 by Simon Schuster (first published 2002)
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Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tuxedo Park was an engaging biography of Alfred Loomis, who at one point was compared to a modern day Benjamin Franklin but in reading this book, I also found parallels to Leonardo Da Vinci, a true Renaissance Man. Although his love was science, Loomis after graduating from law school began working at a prestigious law firm. From there he and his partner, Landon Thorne, took over an international banking firm and became a prestigious Wall Street banker at the time of the depression. Loomis then ...more
May 11, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a very interesting but somewhat difficult read. Interesting to learn about the development of radar, something that we take for granted today, but was only developed in the early 1940's. It is now a part of our daily lives (much more than we even realize) but was one of the deciding factors that helped the Allies win WWII and defeat Hitler. Alfred Loomis, creator of many types of radar, was quite a character; one to be heralded for his devotion to science; and yet we hear little or nothi ...more
Feb 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that's well-suited to someone with a good understanding of the history of World War II, as it provides valuable background to the development of radar, Loran and atomic energy. Alfred Loomis was a financier who managed to guard his fortune through the Depression by liquidating assets early. As a result, he established a laboratory for advanced research at his Tuxedo Park mansion, nurturing great scientists like Luis Alvarez, Ernest Lawrence, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein and George ...more
scott wafrock
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: highly-recommend
just finished this book and immediately wanted to find out more about the author and to possibly get more info on henry loomis (a living relation of the story's protagonist at the time this book was published). this was a mind blowing read full of amazing stories in scientific research leading up to World War II, including the invention of radar and the cyclotron, the latter being instrumental in the making of the atomic bomb and The Manhattan Project. Alfred Loomis was heretofore unknown to me ...more
Oct 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, history
This is a fascinating look at a little known part of history. The Manhattan project gets all the glory but if not for Mr. Loomis and his radar lab WWII may not have been won by the allies. Loomis is depicted warts and all. His ability to cut through government red tape is a contrast to our world today. I recommend this book not only for what it describes but also for the questions it raises about government research and the military-industrial complex.
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a FASCINATING book. The only problem I had is that I did bog down in parts, some, or a lot, of the science went over my head. BUT, the characters and some of the stories are FASCINATING. The people are brilliant. Their personailities tend to be self centered, so their relationships are usually strained and break apart at some point, which I find very sad.
Mar 30, 2014 rated it liked it
A very interesting story but the book provided way too much detail and dragged. It was often difficult to continue reading as the book dragged on and on.
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book was an amazing account of the personal lives of the men who shaped WWII.
M Tucker
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about the most important contributor to the development of radar and the atomic bomb that you have never heard of. Who the hell was Alfred Lee Loomis? Secret palace of science that changed the course of WWII, seriously? I picked this up at a used book store in 2002. I was in no hurry to read it so it sat on my shelf for a few years. How could this be really significant? I thought I knew all that was necessary to understand the technological and scientific developments that helped ...more
Jennifer W
Dec 13, 2012 rated it did not like it
It started off with such promise, then quickly plummeted. While I now have a better understanding of how some of the scientific advances of WWII got pushed through because of the dedication of Loomis and other scientists, I haven't any better idea of what those advances are. No where in the book did the author take the time to explain what radar really is- and apparently there are different types! I know about speed radar, a beam (of what?) is sent out, when it hits something, it bounces back, a ...more
David Cooke
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a quick read that told me a story I never even realized I wanted to know and am thankful I now do. It has some great information about physics circa WWII and how one particular individual intersected with so many physicists, even becoming one himself. The personal tie-in was kind of lame and ends early on (making it an even odder mention, like it was a half-baked idea), and there are definitely moments that I wanted more scientific detail, but overall this is about telling the story of ...more
Nov 04, 2008 rated it liked it
I picked this book to read after seeing a reference to it in a recent presentation on renewble energy development. The message was that we need a new Tuxedo park of our century and a man like Loomis to drive the developments needed for the energy crisis of our current situation. I really ejoyed this book, but got a little bored by the details in the secnd half. Unless you have a deep interest in radar technologies and cyclotrons, most of the details will be noise.

Loomis and the other characters
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
A fascinating history of how a Wall Street financier used his fortune and interest in physics to form a group of world renown scientists that helped developed some of the earliest forms of instruments (cyclotron,radar). What I learned is how influential Alfred Loomis became, so much so that during World War 2 the Roosevelt administration chose him to head up a top secret task force to develop enhanced tools for warfare and how this naturally evolved into the discovery of nuclear fission that was ...more
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
getting near the end, I am enjoying the historical aspect of this book and some of the personalities even if the main character of this book seems somewhat aloof and unreal. I would give this a solid 3.5/4 stars as the historical aspects are worth the time spent alone. Alfred Loomis was truly a man who knew how to use his vast resources to spur others on to accomplish great things. Not without his own personal foibles Loomis was arguably one of the Driving forces in helping the allies achieve vi ...more
Jun 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of Alfred Loomis until I read this book, but he was a really remarkable guy. You might call this book a companion to 109 East Palace (which tells the behind the scenes story of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos). This book covers the radar project that preceded it, and in some ways may have been more important to the outcome of the war.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was the first book I read by Jennet Conant, and I found it an amazing piece of history with great insight into the development of nuclear power in a Tuxedo Park, a location which would not seem to be the home of the work that was done there.
F. John
May 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was one of the men that made the radar a reality. He was an odd man but had the right interest in science, a first rate lab, and the means to draw all the talent necessary to make the radar happen.

There are a lot of names in this book, but stick with it.
Oct 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting book about the development of Radar. I got the book from my Grandfather, shortly before his passing. I would recommend it to anyone who likes science, technology, and WWII history. It was a very engaging book. Once I started reading it, I had to finish it.
Apr 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010, science
This was a really interesting chapter of history I was unaware of. Alfred Loomis, a millionaire amateur scientist opened a private laboratory which did important work on the development of radar and the atomic bomb.
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I love local history and this book didn't disappoint. This book details a part of Alfred A. Loomis' life and how he played a part in the development of radar and the atomic bomb. He did so out of his house is none other than Tuxedo Park, NY. Awesome book!
Read Ng
Mar 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
An unexpected history of some of the greatest minds in recent history.
Kathy Daulton
Dec 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Biography of a self-made physicist/tycoon who supported the development of radar at his personal scientific lab. A study in the practical application of science and determined men.
Ray Foote
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A book I buy extra copies of and give to friends.
Starts out a bit confusing but what a story.
Sep 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book about a little known aspect of WW II. Very well written although loaded with facts and names it held my interest.
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating true story.
Jan 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Fascinating account of the genesis of The Rad Lab at MIT, where radar was first developed and eventually saved the Allies in WWII.
Sep 17, 2012 added it
An excellent historical perspective on an interesting time surrounding pre-WWII history.
Will Boncher
Nov 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Had never heard of Loomis before; interesting story. Didn't realize so much of WWII science was civilian organized, I assumed it was a lot more heavily government focused.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating peek into the life of brilliant and reclusive millionaire, whose contributions to the US army technology made it possible to defeat the Nazis in the WWII (at least on the Western Front). I've never heard of Alfred Lee Loomis before, and it's amazing how man possessing a rare combination of financial, scientific and engineering brilliance could slip so easily under the mainstream history's radar (sorry for the pun).

While not exactly a full-fledged biography, the book does a
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am a devotee of the history of World War II and also the history of American science in the 20th century. I was amazed to learn the story of Alfred Lee Loomis on the PBS American Experience broadcast, 'The Secret of Tuxedo Park."

I found it stunning with all the reading I've done that I'd never heard of Alfred Lee Loomis, a business and scientific genius who shunned publicity and credit for his amazing accomplishments. Most history buffs have heard of the famous "Rad Lab" but now the complete
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Bright Young Things: May 2014- Tuxedo Park by Jennet Conant 26 14 Jun 05, 2014 06:38AM  
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Jennet Conant is an American non-fiction author and journalist. She has written four best selling books about World War II, three of which have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list.

Born in Seoul, South Korea and raised in Asia and America, she received a BA degree in Political Theory from Bryn Mawr College in 1982, and double-majored in Philosophy at Haverford College. She completed a
More about Jennet Conant
“They now had a technical advantage over the Germans that they had to exploit immediately...According to Cockcroft, right then and there Loomis proposed the idea of establishing a large central microwave laboratory. The British enthusiastically seconded the idea, and it was quickly agreed that it should be a civilian rather than military operation, staffed by scientists and engineers from both universities and industry, based on the British model of successful research laboratories, and, not coincidentally, Loomis' own enterprise.” 0 likes
“Loomis was not any easier a father than he was a husband. He set the bar very high when it came to his three sons. After he cashed out of Bonbright, he awarded each of the three boys a substantial share of their inheritance - roughly $1 million - on the theory that it was never too early to begin charting one's own course. The youngest, Henry, was only fourteen when he was given complete financial independence.” 0 likes
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