PD Smith

Saving mankind from war

31 October 2008 | Doomsday Men, Haber, Science & literature, Szilard, Wells, WMD, Writing & Poetry | Post a comment

Christopher Hirst at The Independent has reviewed the paperback of Doomsday Men: "Humane and highly readable, this book concerns a black subject: the destruction of humanity (or a good chunk of it)." Read more here.

There was also a good review recently in the scholarly journal Survival: Global Politics and Strategy (Volume 50, Issue 5, 2008, pp 209-10). Bruno Tertrais writes:

"Doomsday Men by P.D. Smith tells the story of the 20th-century search for the perfect weapon. [...] Doomsday Men points out that many weapons scientists - including Haber, Sakharov, Szilard and others - saw themselves not only as helping their countries, but also humanity as a whole, and believed, as did Alfred Nobel of his invention of dynamite, that their efforts would save mankind from war. Smith also illuminates, in his valuable account, the interaction between science and literature, with scientists and authors constantly inspiring one another throughout the century. For instance, The World Set Free by H.G. Wells (1914), the first novel about nuclear war, was a source of inspiration for many scientific pioneers, including Szilard."

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