Cover image for Hitler's scientists [science, war, and the devil's pact]
Hitler's scientists [science, war, and the devil's pact]
Cornwell, John, 1940-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Roseland, NJ : Listen & Live Audio, [2003]

Physical Description:
5 audio discs (6 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
In Hitler's Scientists, British historian John Cornwell explores German scientific genius in the first half of the twentieth century and shows how Germany's early lead in the new physics led to the discovery of atomic fission, which in turn led the way to the atom bomb, and how the ideas of Darwinism were hijacked to create the lethal doctrine of racial cleansing.
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Subtitle from container.


Compact disc.
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Format :
Audiobook on CD


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Q127.G3 C672 2003 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks
Q127.G3 C672 2003 Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

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A gripping, in-depth account of Germany’s horrific abuse of science and its consequences- then and now. By the first decade of the twentieth century, Germany was the Mecca of science and technology in the world. However, by the beginning of the First World War, Germany began to display some of the features that would blight the conduct of ideal science through the rest of the century.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Cornwell's previous book, Hitler's Pope (1999), attracted significant controversy for making explicit Pope Pius XII's relationship with the Third Reich, an attack launched at a time when the embattled Catholic Church was already in the headlines for covering up the sexual abuse of priests. Timing is everything. His latest work, investigating pre- and mid-war German science, likely won't attract quite as much attention, but it should, for it raises questions about the relationship between scientific progress and warfare that suggest uncomfortable parallels between past and present. Poison gas and beautiful dyestuffs, forced sterilizations and advances in cancer research, Einstein and Mengele: Cornwell explores hard science (chemistry, physics, math) and pseudoscience (racial hygiene, eugenics) alike, and challenges readers by juxtaposing, and occasionally blurring, the lines between them. Rather than reading like a chamber of Germanic horrors (see Robert Jay Lifton's Nazi Doctors 1986), Cornwell's narrative aspires to a philosophical focus, emphasizing the tacit evil of complicity and the seductive lie of so-called pure research. No research develops in a vacuum, he argues, and scientists are more subservient than most to the authorities that feed them--especially in free-market economies. Following Europe's mathematical geniuses to the U.S., and to Los Alamos and beyond, the author argues that science is as easily led astray as ever, especially since September 11 and within a new doctrine of preemptive war. A polemic but a timely one appropriate for audiences beyond war and science buffs. --Brendan Driscoll Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Cornwell's devastating bestseller Hitler's Pope is a tough act to follow. Here, the author again claims the moral high ground to critique the ethical and political choices of scientists in Hitler's Germany and to caution that science under the Western democracies in the Cold War and the war on terrorism also wielded and continues to wield the "Janus-faced power for good and evil." Today's best writers on the Hitler era have outgrown the kind of marginalizing polemic Cornwell employs here. His analysis of Nazi science, while built on sound research and often thoughtful critique, sinks to the sensationalism of "Faustian bargains," "scientific prostitutions" and Arendt's "banality of evil." Unsavory concepts are qualified as "pseudo-science," "half-baked," or simply "science" in quotation marks so that the undiscerning reader won't mistake them for the real thing. All the hot-button issues are on display here: racial hygiene; eugenics; the Nazi purge of academia and Germany's forfeiture of its greatest physicists to the Allies because they were Jewish; and human experimentation on concentration camp inmates. The author also details the science of war in Germany, from rockets and secret codes to radar and the atomic bomb, and how the Allies plundered the country's military technology and expertise after the fall of the Third Reich. Cornwell is a gifted writer with a fascinating story to tell, which he ably and engagingly accomplishes despite the hyperbole. But in his pursuit of comfort in right over wrong, the author forfeits objectivity and perhaps a greater understanding of the sources and the whys of the Nazi phenomenon. Despite this,, the author's articulate though subtly lurid repackaging of Nazi-era crimes and curiosities should guarantee much attention and brisk sales with general readers. Illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Bob Lescher. (On sale Oct. 13) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

After his best-selling Hitler's Pope, a Cambridge historian stirs more controversy. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.