By the war's end, almost every aspect of Germany's scientific culture had been tainted by the exploitation of slave labor, human experimentation, and mass killings. Ultimately, it was Hitler's profound scientific ignorance that caused the Fatherland to lose the race for atomic weapons, which Hitler would surely have used. Cornwell argues that German scientists should be held accountable for the uses to which their knowledge was put, an issue with wide-ranging implications for the continuing unregulated pursuit of scientific progress.
©2003 John Cornwell; (P)2003 Listen & Live Audio, Inc. Recorded by arrangement with Viking Penguin, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
"Cornwell is a gifted writer with a fascinating story to tell, which he ably and engagingly accomplishes." (Publishers Weekly)
"Cornwell's narrative aspires to a philosophical focus, emphasizing the tacit evil of complicity and the seductive lie of so-called pure research....A polemic but a timely one appropriate for audiences beyond war and science buffs." (Booklist)
Both the reader and the content of this audiobook are excellent. I know that I have made a wise purchase when I find myself listening to it over and over again. The details surrounding the development of the German atomic bomb are interesting, and the author examines the moral dilemma of both the German and American scientists in its development. The audiobook is by no means limited to the search for the atomic bomb, however. The development of radio, code-breaking, rocketry and many more are covered. This audiobook is entertaining from beginning to end, and contains many obscure details that will thrill a history or science enthusiast. The reader only adds to an already excellent audiobook.
I enjoyed this book a great deal, but it left me wanting more. I suppose that this is a characteristic of a good book... but it left a lot of unanswered questions. It seemed to skim over a lot of important aspects of the war, such as the Nazi "war on cancer" and even their race to build an A-bomb. Still, I recommend this book if only for the final chapter about science and social responsibility.
This was a very interesting and enjoyably read combination of science in Germany, Hitler's serious character flaws, and the largely unsuccessful military use of technology in two wars. The only dissapointment was the end of the book where the author delves into social science and morality. His sources and conclusions are so poorly chosen that it made me question the historical facts he presented earlier. Skip the gibberish of the last few chapters and enjoy the history.
Content was great and interesting for about the first half. After that it much of the "history" disappeared and it became more of a commentary on being a responsible scientist. A little too much preaching on this and a little too many "environmentalist" type opinions.
I found this book to be a little more technical than I thought it would be but was hooked, nevertheless.
I admit that I was hoping for sinister details of the terrible work of Dr Mengele, but found mostly information about the atomic discoveries. I was disappointed to be lectured on what I should do in my own generation. There is quite a lot of well presented information concerning the progression of the war and how it affected the scientists of Germany. The two stars refer to the excellent research and simply explained incredible major discoveries of men and women from the beginning of the 20th century through the middle. The three missing stars reflect the unnecessary flogging about responsibility that I as a reader didn't ask for and don't deserve. It made me think but then I resented the author's use of his advertised history book as a pulpit. I would have enjoyed much more information on the details of discovery of commonplace things like how plasma transfusions were discovered and saved so many troops. I wish I had only half my money back.
If you are either a World War II buff or work in the sciences, this book is extremely informative. John Cornwell does an excellent job in providing insight on how each scientific achievement helped the Allies win the war and conversely how Hitler's decisions regarding technology lost the Axis powers the war. He does an excellent job in the last chapter explaining how the scientific community can learn from the mistakes in the past as well as describing how today's scientist cannot ignore the social and geopolitical ramifications of his/her technological break-through(s). This is especially true when they can be put to use in the battle field.
Very good explanation and depiction of the effect of Hitler's rise on the scientific community within Germany and occupied Europe. Bombmaking, hereditary experimentation, and the feelings of Hitler's scientists after America's use of the bomb, and their involvement in its early experimentation, were all fleshed out.
I knew Germany was a scientific leader before the war, but did not know that nazism destroyed this position. Also new information: IG Farber, the German company which profited from slave labor and who tortured workers, was dissolved after the war to become Bayer, BASF, and Hoescht, all recognized brands today.
One technical problem: parts Chapter 7 repeated itself, and I had to fast forward to find where I left off. Otherwise, well narrated and organized.
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