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A Race on the Edge of Time: Radar--The Decisive Weapon of World War II Paperback – November 1, 1989

ISBN-13: 978-1557781390 ISBN-10: 1557781397 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 371 pages
  • Publisher: Athena; Reprint edition (November 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557781397
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557781390
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,063,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Scott Gardner on April 30, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book, points out the importance of Information Operations in War. There were a number of significant technologies developed during the war, the atomic bomb, the proximity fuze, the jet engine and the use of electronic encryption, and decryption, however I believe RADAR, and its deployment represent the single greatest advancement.

The book does not talk much about the technology, but to be fair it is a history book. Its fairly exhaustive discussion about the Battle of Britian is appropriate. The Battle of Britian, along with the Battle of Midway, represent two key turning points in the war. It did discuss the quick advancement of the technology when the British gave the key component of lightweight radar systems, the Magnetron to the US. With the deployment of these systems in Aircraft, it allowed the allies to "own the night" in the air.

I thought it was an easy read. It did not really have any "slow" parts. I would recommend it to anyone who is a student of WWII, who wants to better understand the technology of the war, and its impact on the outcome.
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By Neb42 on August 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author gets top marks for his explanations of scientific topics. I have read many explanations of why an airplane can fly and thought I understood the phenomenon, but Fisher's explanation is the only one I have ever read that explains, in understandable terms what constitutes air pressure. A light bulb went off in my head. If Dr. fisher were teaching an online physics course I would sign up immediately. But if he were teaching a course on World War 2 or the battle of Brittain, or even the history of science 1939-1945 I would look elsewhere. In fisher's view, German science is ignored completely. Germans (or "Huns" as Fisher likes to call them) are just a bunch of comic book villains led by Hitler and Goering, the latter apparently being more despicable because of his obesity: pg 218. "...he (Goering) began to feel an irresistible swell of angry desperation creeping up under his bulging belly." If you enjoy this sort of writing then read this book. Otherwise, don't.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Roy B. Mccammon on December 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Big Decisions and the Big Egos That Made Them

A Race to the Edge of Time, Radar -- The Decisive Weapon of World War II, by David E. Fisher, 1988

This is not a technical history of RADAR, which is a shame, because the British science writers are among the best. Rather it is about people, their egos, the big decisions that they made, who got credit and who should have gotten credit (or blame). There is very little in here about the weapon itself and a lot about the calamitous events that it was part of. Without a doubt, RADAR was one of the weapons that ultimately allowed the British to win the Battle of Britton.

Fisher suggests that the Battle of Britain could have easily gone the other way. Britain not only needed RADAR, but also needed the Germans to ignore it. And the Germans did. But that was nearly offset by bad decisions on the part of the British. Rather than being a sequence of moves and counter moves it was more a sequence of mistakes and counter mistakes.

RADAR almost died before it was born. The RADAR sub-committee (also known as the Tizard committee) of The Committee on Air Defense Research, was forced by Churchill to accept a toxic personality into its midst. The RADAR committee fell into bickering and general dysfunction. All its members, except the Churchill appointee, resigned. Showing great political courage, the chairman of the Air Defense Research committee dissolved the RADAR committee and then immediately reconstituted it without Churchill's appointee.

There was the famous Douglas Bader, who consistently disobeyed orders by refusing to engage until he had his wing formed up, which was consistently too late. His squadrons were supposed to protect the bases of the squadrons that were protecting London.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Roy B. Mccammon on December 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Big Decisions and the Big Egos That Made Them

A Race to the Edge of Time, Radar -- The Decisive Weapon of World War II, by David E. Fisher, 1988

This is not a technical history of RADAR, which is a shame, because the British science writers are among the best. Rather it is about people, their egos, the big decisions that they made, who got credit and who should have gotten credit (or blame). There is very little in here about the weapon itself and a lot about the calamitous events that it was part of. Without a doubt, RADAR was one of the weapons that ultimately allowed the British to win the Battle of Britton.

Fisher suggests that the Battle of Britain could have easily gone the other way. Britain not only needed RADAR, but also needed the Germans to ignore it. And the Germans did. But that was nearly offset by bad decisions on the part of the British. Rather than being a sequence of moves and counter moves it was more a sequence of mistakes and counter mistakes.

RADAR almost died before it was born. The RADAR sub-committee (also known as the Tizard committee) of The Committee on Air Defense Research, was forced by Churchill to accept a toxic personality into its midst. The RADAR committee fell into bickering and general dysfunction. All its members, except the Churchill appointee, resigned. Showing great political courage, the chairman of the Air Defense Research committee dissolved the RADAR committee and then immediately reconstituted it without Churchill's appointee.

There was the famous Douglas Bader, who consistently disobeyed orders by refusing to engage until he had his wing formed up, which was consistently too late. His squadrons were supposed to protect the bases of the squadrons that were protecting London.
Read more ›
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