Hitler's Scientists: Science, War and the Devil's Pact

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9780140296860: Hitler's Scientists: Science, War and the Devil's Pact

In a rich and fascinating history John Cornwell tells the epic story of Germany's scientists from the First World War to the collapse of Hitler's Reich. He shows how Germany became the world's Mecca for inventive genius, taking the lion's share of Nobel awards, before Hitler's regime hijacked science for wars of conquest and genocidal racism. Cornwell gives a dramatic account of the wide ranging Nazi research projects, from rockets to nuclear weapons; the pursuit of advanced technology for irrational ends, concluding with with penetrating relevance for today: the inherent dangers of science without conscience.

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Review:

Neither Hitler's rocket blitz of England, nor his use of unprecedented weapons technology, nor--most horrifically--his systematic program of genocide could have been achieved without the purposeful work of Nazi physicists, biologists, mathematicians, and technicians. In Hitler's Scientists, John Cornwell asks:

"Were these cases of Germans behaving according to type as Germans? Or scientists in Germany behaving according to type as scientists?"

These chilling questions encompass two more specific points. First, did the scientists who developed poison gas weapons and concentration camps do it for scientific, personal, or political purposes? Second, can scientists claim to remain objective when funded by, and working for, military or government entities? Cornwell, whose last book was Hitler's Pope, takes a hard line against those scientists who stayed and helped the Nazis after Jewish scientists were expelled and Hitler's plans became clear. With the weight of evidence, Cornwell lays flat the various personal reasons the scientists gave for their actions during the war and shows that even before World War I, German scientists had shown themselves willing to subvert laws and morality in pursuit of money and power. Cornwell also clearly outlines the popular pseudosciences--"racial hygiene," astrology, glacial cosmogony--that drove Hitler's madness. Were there any German scientists who were swept up unknowing or unwilling in the Nazi war machine? It's unclear, but Cornwell's analysis of whether Werner Heisenberg was a "hero, a villain or a fellow traveler" is crucial to that question. Heisenberg's role in the Nazi's inability to complete an atomic bomb is still a riddle, but Cornwell presents all available facts and allows readers to draw their own conclusions. In his last chapters, Cornwell draws parallels between Hitler's scientists and those working in today's world of political anxiety, terrorism, and attacks on basic science. He demolishes once and for all the outdated, disproven, and dangerous notion of scientists working in a vacuum, free of the "taint" of the outside world, and answerable only to their funders. --Therese Littleton

From the Publisher:

· Cornwell’s previous book, Hitler’s Pope was a 5-week New York Times bestseller in hardcover and was a Newsday, Boston Globe, New York Post, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times, USA Today, bestseller. · Hitler’s Pope, which sold nearly 100,000 hardcover copies, was featured on 60 Minutes, was excerpted in Vanity Fair, and was a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, the History Book Club, and the Quality Paperback Book Club.

· Cornwell also did an 8-city Author Tour to Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC.

· He also received national publicity, radio interviews and national print features.

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In a rich and fascinating history John Cornwell tells the epic story of Germany s scientists from the First World War to the collapse of Hitler s Reich. He shows how Germany became the world s Mecca for inventive genius, taking the lion s share of Nobel awards, before Hitler s regime hijacked science for wars of conquest and genocidal racism. Cornwell gives a dramatic account of the wide ranging Nazi research projects, from rockets to nuclear weapons; the pursuit of advanced technology for irrational ends, concluding with with penetrating relevance for today: the inherent dangers of science without conscience. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140296860

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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, United Kingdom, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In a rich and fascinating history John Cornwell tells the epic story of Germany s scientists from the First World War to the collapse of Hitler s Reich. He shows how Germany became the world s Mecca for inventive genius, taking the lion s share of Nobel awards, before Hitler s regime hijacked science for wars of conquest and genocidal racism. Cornwell gives a dramatic account of the wide ranging Nazi research projects, from rockets to nuclear weapons; the pursuit of advanced technology for irrational ends, concluding with with penetrating relevance for today: the inherent dangers of science without conscience. Bookseller Inventory # APG9780140296860

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