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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by Graham Farmelo
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by on October 25, 2016
- Faber & Faber, October 2013
Faber & Faber Non Fiction
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