AUTHORPowers, Thomas
TITLEHeisenberg's War
CITYNew York, NY

In this book, Thomas Powers examines the failure of Germany to build an atomic bomb during World War II, focusing on Werner Heisenberg, the project head and perhaps the top physicist in the world at the time. Powers maintains that Germany could have built the bomb had Heisenberg acted as a zealous and organized leader of the project. Historians echoed the conclusions of the Alsos Project for many decades, saying that Germany failed to build a bomb because of Nazi closed-mindedness to "Jewish" science and because of poorly executed experiments by its physicists. In contrast, Powers explores Heisenberg’s side of the controversy. He shows that Heisenberg never derailed the project but never galvanized it either. Heisenberg took a passive role, and opposed giving the bomb to Hitler, who was not interested anyway. The book reveals the complex interactions among German physicists, their relationships with the Nazi regime, and to the world scientific community. The true answers to the controversy, Powers says, will never be known because of Heisenberg’s reluctance to speak of the bomb program after the war. The book is exceptionally well documented and researched.

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