Doomsday Men: The Real Dr Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon

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Penguin UK, Sep 25, 2008 - History - 576 pages

It was the weapon to end all weapons: the doomsday device. A huge nuclear bomb so powerful that it could envelop the entire planet in a cloud of radioactive dust, and bring about instant extinction.

This is the untold story of the Cold War’s most insane plan, the men behind it and how it nearly happened. It is also the history of humanity’s nightmare vision of a superweapon, showing how popular culture, from the stories of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne to films such as Planet of the Apes, Mad Max and Dr Strangelove itself have both shaped and reflected our darkest dreams.


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Doomsday men: the real Dr. Strangelove and the dream of the superweapon

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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 ... Read full review


List of Illustrations
The Gift of Destruction
The Plutonium Collector
Natures Secrets
The Man Who Ended
Einsteins Open Sesame
Conceived in Fear
Devils Work
Destroyer of Worlds
The Hell Bomb
Khrushchevs Monsters

The Inventor of All Things
Faust and the Physicists
Wings over Europe
The Tragedy of Mankind

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About the author (2008)

Peter Smith teaches at University College London where he is an Honorary Research Fellow in the Science and Technology Studies Department. He regularly reviews for the Guardian, and has written for the Independent, the Financial Times and the Times Literary Supplement. His previous books are Metaphor and Materiality: German Literature and the World-View of Science 1780-1955 and a biography of Einstein. He lives in London.

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