Friday, December 26, 2014

Craig Nelson's "The Age of Radiance"

Craig Nelson is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Rocket Men, as well as Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations (winner of the Henry Adams Prize), The First Heroes, Let’s Get Lost (shortlisted for W.H. Smith’s Book of the Year), and The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era.

Here Nelson dreamcasts an adaptation of The Age of Radiance:
If The Age of Radiance, a history of the Atomic Age from the birth of X-rays to the meltdown of Fukushima, were made into a movie, a great through line would be to focus on the women. Greer Garson did the American version of Marie Curie, relentlessly saintly and revered, but the reality is a Polish immigrant who arrived in Paris with 2 cents and turned herself into Madame Curie. No one does drive, ambition, and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps like Joan Crawford.

Marie's daughter Irene was no slouch in the drive department - her mom was the first woman to win a Nobel, and she was the second - so Reese Witherspoon.

The completely forgotten woman who discovered fission, Lise Meitner, deserves a big star who can glow while motionless - Angelina Jolie.

Enrico Fermi co-invented the nuclear reactor; his wife Laura resembles Audrey Tatou.

Edward Teller co-invented the hydrogen bomb; his wife Mici could be related to Jane Wyman, and wouldn’t Jane vs. Audrey be great to see onscreen?

Robert Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty was not at all like her rendition in the opera Doctor Atomic, but instead something of a schemer — perfect for goody-two-shoes Norma Shearer. All these women more or less knew each other, if not directly then serially, and most were married to men who were alternately competing and collegial. So there was quite a bit of drama beyond chalk on a blackboard….
Learn more about The Age of Radiance at the Scribner website.

--Marshal Zeringue