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Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler by [Philip Ball]

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Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 27 ratings

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Length: 314 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A fair-minded and meticulous assessment of the generally weak-kneed response, and especially of the actions of three non-Jewish physicists in Germany, all Nobel laureates.”
(Jewish Daily Forward)

“The biggest problem with the behavior of Heisenberg, Planck, and Debye is not, Ball suggests, that they failed to actively resist the Nazis. After all, he writes, ‘it is a brave person who asserts without hesitation that he or she would have done better.’ Instead, it is their failure even to engage with the idea that they, as scientists, bore some responsibility for the work they did and the regime under which they did it. Being an ‘apolitical scientist’ is itself a political decision, Ball argues, and as his book demonstrates, it is not always the right one.”
(Physics Today)

“I have been studying this subject for decades, but I found new things in Ball’s book. He has put the material together in an accessible way, and there is an extensive bibliography for people who would like to dig deeper.”
(Wall Street Journal)

Serving the Reich is a remarkable achievement—not only for its popularization of historical debates but also for the depth of its analysis. Both the layperson interested in the moral dilemma of physicists under Hitler and the historian familiar with the controversial debates will find Ball’s account highly instructive.”
(Physics Today)

“This is an outstanding work about the social responsibility of scientists, exemplified by considering the actions of three Nobelist physicists during the Nazi regime in Germany: Max Planck, Peter Debye, and Werner Heisenberg.  . . . Ball, a journalist and prolific author chronicles the pressures on these men to expel Jews from their posts before the war and to pursue war research and support the Nazi ideology during the war.  The retrospective furor about their alleged collaboration, accommodation, or resistance motivates Ball to reconstruct their dilemmas and responses.  The conflicting accounts of Heisenberg’s role in the atomic bomb project are carefully reviewed and their ambiguity noted and discussed.  In these episodes, Ball thoughtfully navigates the nuances of attaching motives to acts, avoiding justifying the more strident contemporary accusations and exoneration.  This is a stunning cautionary tale, well researched and told. Essential.”
(Choice)

“An excellent, concise account of the German side of the most dramatic era in the history of physics.”
(Michigan War Studies Review) --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

About the Author

Philip Ball is a freelance writer who lives in London. He worked for over twenty years as an editor for Nature, writes regularly in the scientific and popular media, and has written many books on the interactions of the sciences, the arts, and the wider culture, including, most recently, Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.

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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5
27 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2013
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Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on July 18, 2017
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Reviewed in the United States on July 26, 2016
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Reviewed in the United States on March 2, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2015
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Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2015
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Top international reviews

autodidact
5.0 out of 5 stars The Physicists Who Worked for Hitler
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 17, 2016
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Nat
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting take on science and history
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 14, 2018
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Rosd
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 28, 2016
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MF
3.0 out of 5 stars Bon livre
Reviewed in France on February 27, 2017
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chris & kath smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but could benefit from some editting
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 30, 2014
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Soria Huguet Silvia
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting with a good analysis of the political and social conditions during the ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 18, 2015
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Alistair Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars All good, no problems with delivery
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 3, 2015
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