Heisenberg's War

Heisenberg's War

4.7 4
by Thomas Powers
     
 

One of the last secrets of World War II is why the Germans failed to build an atomic bomb. Germany was the birthplace of modern physics; it possessed the raw materials and the industrial base; and it commanded key intellectual resources. What happened?

In Heisenberg's War, Thomas Powers tells of the interplay between science and espionage, morality and

Overview


One of the last secrets of World War II is why the Germans failed to build an atomic bomb. Germany was the birthplace of modern physics; it possessed the raw materials and the industrial base; and it commanded key intellectual resources. What happened?

In Heisenberg's War, Thomas Powers tells of the interplay between science and espionage, morality and military necessity, and paranoia and cool logic that marked the German bomb program and the Allied response to it. On the basis of dozens of interviews and years of intensive research, Powers concludes that Werner Heisenberg, who was the leading figure in the German atomic effort, consciously obstructed the development of the bomb and in a famous 1941 meeting in Copenhagen with his former mentor Neils Bohr in effect sought to dissuade the Allies from their pursuit of the bomb. Heisenberg's War is a "superbly researched and well-written book" (Time) whose extraordinary story engrosses—and haunts.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780306810114
Publisher:
Da Capo Press
Publication date:
07/01/2000
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
644
Sales rank:
774,665
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Meet the Author


Thomas Powers received the Pulitzer Prize in national reporting in 1971. He is the author of several books, including The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA, and most recently the novel The Confirmation. He lives with his family in Vermont.

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Heisenberg's War 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Was Heisenberg a moral agent or an incompetent bomb-builder? Did he affect a great resistance to Hitler by heading up and secretly sabotaging all Nazi efforts at making a nuclear weapon? The answers to these questions may have been taken by Heisenberg to his grave, but Powers' explorations of the issues reads like a thriller. Well woth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You must read this book! You will finally learn why Germany never developed the atomic bomb. It is an amazing tale. There are more than 2 sides to every story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent companion to Richard Rhodes _The Making of the Atomic Bomb_. Due to input from Robert Furman, it also has a better history of Alsos than Goudsmit's _Alsos_ or Pash's _The Alsos Mission_. There are controversial facts here too, including the June 1942 German reactor accident. Also, in August 1944 von Weizsacker and Heisenberg were doing math on 'solid and hollow spheres.' Powers says 'For Goudsmit this single factor settled the matter' about the Nazi's not having a bomb. This is very thin ice to draw such a conclusion. Since implosion was top secret, Goudsmit had not been briefed in the technique, and would not have recognized it if discussed. Was von Weizsacker talking about implosion? In the end Los Alamos used a solid sphere in the Alamogordo device and Nagasaki bomb.