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Synopsis

This entertaining and informative book tells the dramatic tale of explosives from gunpowder to the H-bomb. Laying the emphasis on the lives of the people involved, on the diverse uses of explosives and on their social and historical impact, the author relates a story of remarkable international and human endeavour. Many of those involved - Roger Bacon, Guy Fawkes, Alfred Nobel, Robert Oppenheimer - are famed worldwide; others, such as C F Schonbein, William Bickford, Sir Frederick Abel and Charles E Munroe, though less well-known, also played critical roles. Alongside their achievements, this book highlights the uses and impact of explosives in both war and terrorism, and in civil engineering, quarrying, mining, demolition, fireworks manufacture and shooting for sport. In many cases explosives are seen to have had a significant historical impact as, for example, in the early use of gunpowder in the American Civil War, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, and the worldwide opening up of canals and railways.

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