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Hitler's Gift: The True Story of the Scientists Expelled By the Nazi Regime Hardcover – May 14, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Before Hitler's rise to power, Germany outstripped the rest of the world in its scientific achievements. Between 1901 and 1932, German scientists won one-third of all Nobel science prizes; from 1933 to 1960, however, Germany won only eight of these prizes. Medawar, the widow of renowned immunologist Peter Medawar, and British physician Pyke collaborate to narrate an engrossing story of how England and the United States benefited from Hitler's expulsion of Germany's leading scientists. The authors observe that at least 20% of these biologists, physicists and chemists were dismissed from their university posts because they were Jews. Others left the country because of their opposition to Hitler and his regime. In Britain, scholars such as historian G.M. Trevelyan, biochemist Frederick Gowland Hopkins, and geneticist J.B.S. Haldane formed the Academic Assistance Council to help relocate and support displaced German scientists, among them physicist Erwin Schr”dinger, who originated the theory of wave mechanics; and biologist Hans Krebs, the father of the famous Krebs Cycle, which describes the oxidation of carbohydrates into energy. German refugee scientists who won acclaim in the United States include Einstein; Edward Teller, the "father of the H-bomb"; and Enrico Fermi, who split the atom. Medawar and Pyke point out that several scientists remained in Germany, most notably Max Planck and Werner Heisenberg, in an attempt to preserve German science in its pre-Hitler expressions. Yet the authors refrain from casting moral aspersions on those who stayed or on those German academics who apparently did not help their Jewish colleagues. This engaging story of the demise of science in Hitler's Germany and the subsequent rise of science in England and the United States compellingly chronicles a little-considered aspect of WWII history.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Jean Medawar, the widow of Sir Peter Medawar, the Nobel prize-winning immunologist, has written several books, including A Very Decided Preference. David Pyke, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, has written several medical books and one on family planning with Jean Medawar.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing; 1st edition (May 14, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1559705647
  • ISBN-13: 978-1559705646
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,598,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is...simply excellent !

It gives a background (nothing heavy) about the history of science, with a bit of a focus on the Nobel Prize, arguably the Holy Grail of academic science; though many recipients - perhaps more in the past than now - weren't really seeking it. It it tells of Germany's dominance in science before WW2 and gives a refreshing view of pre-Nazi Germany as a country that was quite progressive in very many ways...and it tells how Germany threw away its academia in order to pursue a Nazi New Order or whatever it was.
All this is largely covered in the early part of the book.

The rest of the book gives a brief biography of selected scientists that contributed so much to modern Knowledge and tells what happened to them or how they escaped or otherwise dealt with Naziism and/or the war.

The book is VERY readable. No scientific jargon; it is concise and completely for the non-scientific reader. The book can be read by most in a few days by reading in the evening.

I'm impressed by this work, its scholarship and its way of promoting (perhaps unintentionally) science as a worthwhile endeavor.

Buy it, borrow it, or whatever....but READ it !
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Format: Hardcover
This book looks at the plight of scientists who were forced out of their positions in Germany and Austria after the Nazi regime came to power in 1933, and the scientific contributions many of them made after they resettled in Britain and elsewhere.

The first chapter discusses the status and prestige of German scientists prior to 1933. This chapter provides a baseline against which the authors later show the serious adverse consequences to the German scientific community that occurred after the Nazi regime came to power in 1933. The second chapter briefly summarizes the rise of the Nazi party in Germany and its path to gaining power in 1933. This chapter provides the context to understand the implementation of the anti-Semitic policies and laws of the Nazi regime. The rest of the book covers the trials and tribulations of various scientists in Germany and Austria who were deprived of their positions because of the anti-Semitic policies and laws of the Nazi regime, as well as some scientists who fled Germany and Austria in anticipation of those anti-Semitic policies and laws affecting them.

An interesting aspect of the book is its discussion of the significant efforts of British scientists and intellectuals (with some assistance from Canada and the United States) to provide aid, refuge, and the career opportunities to the persecuted German and Austrian scientists. The book also points out some of the anti-intellectual aspects of the Nazi regime that adversely affected even those scientists not covered by the regime's anti-Semitic policies and laws.

The book is written in a generally readable style that does not require the reader to have prior knowledge about German and Austrian scientists or Nazi Germany. The book is largely anecdotal, biographical, and episodic in nature, not a systematic scholarly historical work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book summarizes the life, adventures and discoveries of some of the best brains in the first half of the XX century.

An additional benefit of this book is providing an overview of several scientific discoveries and part of the relationship that they have between them. It introduces information on some major scientific achievements that are worth to be known.

I would rewrite the title. Better forget Hitler's name, he is not so important.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very well written book on relatively little known but important events of the Hitler era. I had previously read a borrowed copy and decided to get my own .
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