PD Smith

Publishers Weekly

07 January 2008 | cold war, Doomsday Men, Oppenheimer, Szilard | 4 comments

Publishers Weekly gave Doomsday Men a starred review this week. This is what they had to say:

Weaving together biography, science and art, Smith has created a compelling history of physics in the 20th century, focusing on the long-lasting search for ever more destructive weapons—from the development of chemical warfare in World War I Germany through the arms race of the Cold War. Explaining “why some of the most gifted and idealistic men of the twentieth century spent so much effort trying to destroy the planet,” Smith’s dynamic, riveting narrative reveals details of people, places and events that are rarely covered in textbooks, bringing to life not just scientists like Robert Oppenheimer and Leo Szilard, but the horrors of chemical and atomic warfare. Time and again, “it seemed that a giant leap forward for science also meant a step backward for mankind,” and contemporary film and fiction echoed this sentiment with “clear signs… [of] genuine resentment towards scientists for betraying the high ideals of their profession and, indeed, the best interests of humanity.” Ironically, the goal of many of these scientists was peace, not war: “Many scientists were convinced that the terrible reality of atomic superweapons would force nations to resolve their disputes and work for world peace.” Captivating and thoroughly referenced, this chronicle should interest a wide audience, from science and history buffs to armchair politicos.

4 comments so far:

  1. Paul Halpern | 07 January 2008

    Well done, Peter! That's great news!

  2. PD Smith | 08 January 2008

    Thanks Paul!

  3. indeterminacy | 24 January 2008

    Hey, congratulations! Just now I saw your title "German Literature and the World-view of Science..." in the sidebar - I have to check that out and see where I stand with all the German literature I've read. (Can't hardly escape it when you live in Germany).

  4. PD Smith | 24 January 2008

    You'll find it contains plenty of German literature - enjoy!

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