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Churchill's Bomb [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Graham Farmelo

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3. Oktober 2013
Churchill's Bomb reveals a new aspect of the great Prime Minister's life, so far completely neglected by historians: his relations with his nuclear scientists, and his management of Britain's policy on atomic weapons. Graham Farmelo, the author of the celebrated and prize-winning biography of Paul Dirac, argues that Churchill was far more interested in science that he appeared. He made brave efforts to understand the exciting and sinister new world opened up by quantum physics in the 1920s and 30s, and wrote repeatedly about the coming of unimaginably dangerous new explosives. Britain then was the world leader in nuclear research. But when the awful possibility of actually building an atomic bomb raised its head, Churchill made crucial errors that ensured Britain's exclusion from the American-led project to build the bomb. He neglected an offer by Roosevelt to give Britain equal footing on the project and marginalized the real elite of British science, relying instead on the counsel of Frederick Lindemann, a wayward Oxford physicist hungry for power and resentful of scientists more brilliant than he was. As a result, Britain lost its leadership of this cutting-edge science and was denied access to the latest research. Churchill allowed himself to be fobbed off with emollient words from the notoriously evasive American President. In this original and controversial book, Graham Farmelo shows a new and less flattering side to the great war leader.

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A story as gripping as it is elegantly argued ... a wonderful companion piece to one of the most authoritative books on this subject, Richard Rhodes's epic 'The Making of the Atomic Bomb'. -- Lisa Jardine Financial Times An excellent book ... Farmelo is a splendid word-portraitist, and his book charts the odysseys, geographical as well as scientific, of the men who played a key role in developing the bomb ... authoritative and superbly readable. -- Max Hastings Sunday Times Graham Farmelo's very fine book ... illuminates the nexus between science, politics, war, and even literature better than anything I have read for some time. The issues it raises are both eternal and especially pressing now. It is not yet Book of the Year time but this has to be a contender. -- Peter Forbes Independent Dazzling ... Farmelo, prize-winning biographer of the physicist Paul Dirac, recounts this important story with skill and erudition. -- Piers Brendon Guardian Splendid and original ... in interweaving the political and scientific, Farmelo succeeds in making the latter beautifully clear even to readers with scant background in the subject. -- Times Higher Education A W Purdue Scrupulously researched and superbly written ... Churchill's Bomb is a powerful and moving contribution to literature about the 20th century and to biographical and historical writing. -- Vin Arthey Scotsman Graham Farmelo is the author of an outstanding biography of Paul Dirac, the most eccentric of the 20th-century geniuses to whom we owe our understanding of the atom.Churchill's Bomb tells an even more dramatic story, and tells it brilliantly ... Farmelo ingeniously interweaves the narratives of the nuclear scientists, many of them Jewish refugees from Germany, with that of Churchill in war and peace -- Daniel Johnson The Times Absorbing ... Farmelo's account of Churchill's atomic dreams perfectly captures the essence of the man and the science of the day. -- Robin McKie Observer

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Graham Farmelo is a By-Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge, and an Adjunct Professor of Physics at Northeastern University, Boston, USA. He edited the best-selling It Must be Beautiful: Great Equations of Modern Science in 2002. His biography of Paul Dirac, The Strangest Man, won the 2009 Costa Biography Award and the 2010 Los Angeles Times Science Book Prize. To find out more go to


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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 5.0 von 5 Sternen  3 Rezensionen
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen a good head to hang the hat of this story upon. 8. März 2014
Von Lawrence Meyer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This is a book with many labyrinthine subjects, nuclear physics, the development of the atomic bomb, the use of science in the Second World War, the interplay of science with war policy and strategy, and a cast of labyrinthine characters, Churchill and FDR not the most impenetrable of them. The author is a British academic and a physicist. Between subjects and author, one might expect a text impervious to penetration by a popular audience.

The good, even surprising, news is that its not. On the contrary, the text is even less academic than one might expect. Almost breezy in fact. Mighty matters are dispatched with at a breathtaking pace.

The nub of the story is that, at first, in a very hazy way, the possibility that an atomic bomb could be built was grasped by both British and American scientists early in the war. Making it happen, however, required getting the attention of policy makers Churchill and Roosevelt, who were of course keenly involved in a number of other matters, like running the war. Whether and how the A-Bomb project, was or was not be a joint Anglo-American adventure is the focus of Farmelo's narrative. There were many stools to fall through, Churchill's dependence upon Lord Cherwell and FDR's lack of administrative rigor among them. The wonder is the project got done at all.

Farmelo's case, and I suppose prejudice, is that Britain and British science both lost out and were driven out of the A-Bomb project: lost out because Churchill and his use of science for war was not deft enough to stay in the game; driven out because American scientists quickly got the upper hand. They had deeper pockets, the economic and war policy arguments overwhelmingly on their side, and a President easier to cope with than Churchill. Once they got any sort of green light, the Americans zoomed out of the starting gate and never bothered to look back to see if they were in compliance with FDR's policy of the week viz. joint Anglo-American A-Bomb development.

I say prejudice because, as the title states, "the United States Overtook Britain in the First Nuclear Arms Race." This implies Britain had the lead to start with, and that's a charitable assumption. As with so many inventions and innovations, the idea that something could be built, even how it could be built, is a far cry from the accomplishment. Still it makes for a good head to hang the hat of this story upon.
5.0 von 5 Sternen It was not easy 8. April 2014
Von Max Voodookool - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
I am a fan of Churchill ever since I read a book, Churchill-Man of the Century by Gerald Sparrow. That was long time back. Last year I came across another great book on Churchill, The Last Lion. This I keep listening on Audible. This book, Churchill's Bomb, brings forth another aspect of his character. Unlike other books, which projected Churchill on top of events, if not on the sides, this book shows that the great man was also, many a times, overwhelmed with events. It was never easy for him. He had to fight every step of his way to get some of his way. The book shows Churchill as Human, with frailties, more than a hero, and this makes this book endearing.

I get a feeling that he was not a likable man during his time. Only history has judged him well, or still judging him, just like it's done in this book.
5.0 von 5 Sternen gret Read 21. Januar 2014
Von Filmmaster 6 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
this is a great read for anyone who is curious about the politics behind the development of the A and H bob. It also somewhat crystilizes our relationship with Great Britan
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