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

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Penguin Adult, Sep 25, 2008 - History - 576 pages
This is the untold story of the ultimate weapon of mass destruction. In 1950, Hungarian-born scientist Leo Szilard made a dramatic announcement on American radio: science was on the verge of creating a doomsday bomb, a huge cobalt-clad H-bomb that would pollute the atmosphere with radioactivity and end all life on earth. For the first time in history, mankind had within his grasp a truly godlike power, the ability to destroy life itself. The shockwave from this statement reverberated across the following decade and beyond--for many people there was now little to distinguish real scientists from that "fictional master of megadeath," Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. Indeed, as science historian Smith shows, the dream of the superweapon to end all war begins in popular culture--iconic films and fictions, from H.G. Wells forward--and the scientists responsible for these terrible weapons grew up in a culture dreaming of superweapons and Wellsian utopias.--From publisher description.

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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

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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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