Secret Weapons: Technology, Science and the Race to Win World War II

Secret Weapons: Technology, Science and the Race to Win World War II

by Brian J Ford
     
 

Powerful illustrations and a unique new narrative make this an incomparable illustrated history of the secret weapons that changed the course of World War II. The book's basic structure is chronological, charting the race in technology between the Allied and Axis powers, with examples of their use in battle, along with those that remained experimental or remained

Overview


Powerful illustrations and a unique new narrative make this an incomparable illustrated history of the secret weapons that changed the course of World War II. The book's basic structure is chronological, charting the race in technology between the Allied and Axis powers, with examples of their use in battle, along with those that remained experimental or remained the stuff of science fiction. Importantly (and of interest to the general reader) it also shows how wartime research anticipated the high-tech era in which we now live. The account charts secret weapons development from the Japanese ray gun of the 1930s to the powerful V2 rocket, and compares World War II secret weapons research with the realities of present-day science. It's a riveting story of innovation under pressure, from a world of machine guns and biplanes to electronics, rockets, and nuclear bombs with the power to wipe out humanity.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British scientist and TV personality Ford (German Secret Weapons) pulls back the curtain in this fascinating, accessible study of the weapons and tactics that changed the course of World War II. Many inventions that seemed like terrific ideas and had significant support—such as dambuster bombs and Britain's Panjandrum (a rolling explosive wheel designed to destroy German fortifications)— never worked, while others, like the greatly-feared V-2 (a German rocket that was undetectable until after it struck), were game-changers. Scattered amongst the weaponry are movie-ready stories, such as that of Hans Mayer, the German physicist behind the "Oslo Report" that gave the Allies an incredible amount of information on Nazi military plans, and Werhner Von Braun, a German scientist who later worked for NASA as a rocket designer. Dr. Shiro Ishii's medical experiments in Japan rivaled those of Mengele—over half a million people, many of them Chinese, were killed during gruesome experiments. Though he occasionally errs on the side of too much detail, Ford's engrossing examination of weapons and tactics will likely be devoured by interested readers. (Sept.)
From the Publisher

“Ford writes with a light touch... this will be lots of fun for military history fans, including younger history buffs.” —Library Journal

“British scientist and TV personality Ford pulls back the curtain in this fascinating, accessible study of the weapons and tactics that changed the course of World War II.” —Publishers Weekly

Library Journal
The author of German Secret Weapons (1969) and Allied Secret Weapons (1971) now presents an entirely new book. World War II prompted more scientific and industrial development than any war prior. UK research scientist and journalist Ford pulls together a lot of information to give an overview of tanks, gigantic guns, powerful bombs, and chemical and biological warfare created by all sides, from Germany's weapons and planes to the Allies' atomic bomb and early computers. Ford writes with a light touch, providing obscure details as he describes inventing and producing weapons to fulfill a particular need, evaluates their effectiveness, and notes postwar applications of the equipment or techniques (e.g., think microwave ovens and stealth bombers). There's a chapter on spectacular failures. He sees TV programs about these weapons largely as hype and not accurate. VERDICT With plenty of photos, this will be lots of fun for military history fans, including younger history buffs.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781849083904
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/20/2011
Series:
General Military Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
7.30(w) x 9.60(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"British scientist and TV personality Ford pulls back the curtain in this fascinating, accessible study of the weapons and tactics that changed the course of World War II." — Publishers Weekly

"Ford writes with a light touch... this will be lots of fun for military history fans, including younger history buffs." — Library Journal (October 1, 2011)

Meet the Author


Brian J Ford is a prolific research scientist who launched major science programms for the BBC. His books pioneer new approaches in bringing science to the public. Over 100 editions of his books have been published around the world, and he appears in TV programmes produced in studios ranging from Hollywood to Delhi, and from Germany to Japan. He was a NESTA Fellow 2004-2007, was presented with the inaugural Köhler medal in America for his work in microscopy, and has been nominated for the prestigious Faraday Medal of the Royal Society in London. His work is widely reported and discussed in journals including Scientific American, Nature, New Scientist, The Microscope and the British Medical Journal; his discoveries feature in many text-books and CD-ROMs. In addition to textbooks he has also written the popular 101 Questions about Science books. His First Encyclopaedia of Science (for the pre-teens) sold over 70,000 copies in a month. Brian J Ford contributes to The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and The Times.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >