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

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9780142004807: Hitler's Scientists: Science, War, and the Devil's Pact

An eye-opening account of the rise of science in Germany through to Hitler’s regime, and the frightening Nazi experiments that occurred during the Reich

A shocking account of Nazi science, and a compelling look at the the dramatic rise of German science in the nineteenth century, its preeminence in the early twentieth, and the frightening developments that led to its collapse in 1945, this is the compelling story of German scientists under Hitler’s regime. Weaving the history of science and technology with the fortunes of war and the stories of men and women whose discoveries brought both benefits and destruction to the world, Hitler's Scientists raises questions that are still urgent today. As science becomes embroiled in new generations of weapons of mass destruction and the war against terrorism, as advances in biotechnology outstrip traditional ethics, this powerful account of Nazi science forms a crucial commentary on the ethical role of science.

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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 Putnam Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. An eye-opening account of the rise of science in Germany through to Hitler s regime, and the frightening Nazi experiments that occurred during the Reich A shocking account of Nazi science, and a compelling look at the the dramatic rise of German science in the nineteenth century, its preeminence in the early twentieth, and the frightening developments that led to its collapse in 1945, this is the compelling story of German scientists under Hitler s regime. Weaving the history of science and technology with the fortunes of war and the stories of men and women whose discoveries brought both benefits and destruction to the world, Hitler s Scientists raises questions that are still urgent today. As science becomes embroiled in new generations of weapons of mass destruction and the war against terrorism, as advances in biotechnology outstrip traditional ethics, this powerful account of Nazi science forms a crucial commentary on the ethical role of science. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142004807

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Book Description Penguin Putnam Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. An eye-opening account of the rise of science in Germany through to Hitler s regime, and the frightening Nazi experiments that occurred during the Reich A shocking account of Nazi science, and a compelling look at the the dramatic rise of German science in the nineteenth century, its preeminence in the early twentieth, and the frightening developments that led to its collapse in 1945, this is the compelling story of German scientists under Hitler s regime. Weaving the history of science and technology with the fortunes of war and the stories of men and women whose discoveries brought both benefits and destruction to the world, Hitler s Scientists raises questions that are still urgent today. As science becomes embroiled in new generations of weapons of mass destruction and the war against terrorism, as advances in biotechnology outstrip traditional ethics, this powerful account of Nazi science forms a crucial commentary on the ethical role of science. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780142004807

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Book Description Penguin Books, 2004. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. 1st Edition. "Science, War and the Devil's Pact." Covers the dramatic rise of German science in the 19th Century, its pre-eminence in the early 20th Century, and the use of German science by the Nazi regime. Discusses the ethical issues posed by scientists who work for murderous regimes - a question even more relevant today. xvi+535 pages, photos, notes, bibliography, index. Bookseller Inventory # 11619

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