Scientists at War: The Ethics of Cold War Weapons Research (Hardback)
  • Scientists at War: The Ethics of Cold War Weapons Research (Hardback)
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Scientists at War: The Ethics of Cold War Weapons Research (Hardback)

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£34.95
Hardback 368 Pages / Published: 17/04/2015
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Scientists at War examines the ethical debates that severely tested the American scientific community during the Cold War. Sarah Bridger highlights the contributions of scientists to military technologies and strategic policymaking, from the dawning atomic age in the 1940s through the Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") in the 1980s, which sparked a cross-generational opposition among scientists. The Manhattan Project in the early 1940s and the crisis provoked by the launch of Sputnik in 1957 greatly enhanced the political clout of American scientists. Yet many who took up government roles felt a duty to advocate arms control. Bridger investigates the internal debate over nuclear weapons policy during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations, when scientific advisors did not restrict themselves to technical assessments but made an impassioned moral case for a nuclear test ban. The relationship between government and science began to fray further during the Vietnam War, as younger scientists inside and outside of government questioned the morality of using chemical defoliants, napalm, and other non-nuclear weapons. With campuses erupting in protest over classified weapons research conducted in university labs, many elder statesmen of science, who once believed they could wield influence from within, became alienated. The result was a coalition that opposed "Star Wars" during the 1980s-and a diminished role for scientists as counselors to future presidents.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674736825
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 635 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is a revealing, richly informed inside history, not just of scientists in policymaking for war and defense after Hiroshima, but of their increasing struggles in the eras of Vietnam and Star Wars with the ethics of the ongoing drive for innovations in armaments. An authoritative, compelling work.--Daniel J. Kevles, author of The Physicists: The History of a Scientific Community in Modern America
Historian Sarah Bridger's ambitious book Scientists at War rethinks scientists' role within the Cold War military establishment, viewing it through an unusual lens: that of the 20th century's continually evolving ethical norms... Bridger has written a stimulating account of the clash of worldviews that divided the Manhattan Project generation from Vietnam-era scientists.--Jacob Darwin Hamblin"American Scientist" (11/01/2015)
One of our cherished fictions about science is that it constitutes an intellectual activity somehow 'above the fray' of politics. In her excellent book Scientists at War Sarah Bridger undermines this idea. In wonderful detail, she explores the myriad ways that scientists confronted their roles as political actors after World War II.--David K. Hecht"Journal of American History" (03/01/2016)
Sarah Bridger's Scientists at War provides an inside look at the moral and ethical quandaries that shook the U.S. scientific community in the second half of the twentieth century... The most rewarding parts of Scientists at War present fresher material on lesser-known scientists and their fraught relationship with Vietnam... Scientists at War is a book that delivers exactly what it promises: a deep exploration of American scientists' understanding of their role in Cold War weapons research. Bridger's faithfulness to her actors' terms has produced a thoughtful, sympathetic, and at times, even moving, account of an ethically complicated time. It is essential reading for anyone struggling to understand how experts get caught up in ethical quagmires, and what happens when they finally manage to extract themselves.--Audra J. Wolfe"H-Diplo" (10/01/2015)
This will be a landmark book, widely read and frequently consulted. Bridger's scientists emerge as flesh-and-blood actors facing complex sets of constraints, and even as serious--if not always sophisticated--political thinkers with strong feelings about international relations and the ethics of weapons research.--Andrew Jewett, author of Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the Civil War to the Cold War

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