Search-icon

Blackett's War

The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare

By

Hardcover published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

have you read it? rate it!
Histogram_reset_icon
(1 REVIEW)
ADD TO MY SHELF
About This Book

The exciting history of a small group of British and American scientists who, during World War II, developed the new field of operational research to turn back the tide of German submarines—revolutionizing the way wars are waged and won.

In March 1941, after a year of unbroken and devastating U-boat onslaughts, the British War Cabinet decided to try a new strategy in the foundering naval campaign. To do so, they hired an intensely private, bohemian physicist who was also an ardent socialist. Patrick Blackett was a former navy officer and future winner of the Nobel Prize; he is little remembered today, but he and his fellow scientists did as much to win the war against Nazi Germany as almost anyone else. As director of the World War II antisubmarine effort, Blackett used little more than simple mathematics and probability theory—and a steadfast belief in the utility of science—to save the campaign against the U-boat. Employing these insights in unconventional ways, from the washing of mess hall dishes to the color of bomber wings, the Allies went on to win essential victories against Hitler’s Germany.

Here is the story of these civilian intellectuals who helped to change the nature of twentieth-century warfare. Throughout, Stephen Budiansky describes how scientists became intimately involved with what had once been the distinct province of military commanders—convincing disbelieving military brass to trust the solutions suggested by their analysis. Budiansky shows that these men above all retained the belief that operational research, and a scientific mentality, could change the world. It’s a belief that has come to fruition with the spread of their tenets to the business and military worlds, and it started in the Battle of the Atlantic, in an attempt to outfight the Germans, but most of all to outwit them. 

Show less

The exciting history of a small group of British and American scientists who, during World War II, developed the new field of operational research to turn back the tide of German submarines—revolutionizing the way wars are waged and won.

In March 1941, after a year of unbroken and devastating U-boat onslaughts, the British War Cabinet decided to try a new strategy in the foundering naval campaign. To do so, they hired an intensely private, bohemian physicist who was also an ardent socialist. Patrick Blackett was a former navy officer and future winner of the Nobel Prize; he is little remembered today, but he and his fellow scientists did as much to win the war against Nazi Germany as almost anyone else. As director of the World War II antisubmarine effort, Blackett used little more than simple mathematics and probability theory—and a steadfast belief in the utility of science—to save the campaign against the U-boat. Employing these insights in unconventional ways, from the washing of mess hall dishes to the color of bomber wings, the Allies went on to win essential victories against Hitler’s Germany.

Here is the story of these civilian intellectuals who helped to change the nature of twentieth-century warfare. Throughout, Stephen Budiansky describes how scientists became intimately involved with what had once been the distinct province of military commanders—convincing disbelieving military brass to trust the solutions suggested by their analysis. Budiansky shows that these men above all retained the belief that operational research, and a scientific mentality, could change the world. It’s a belief that has come to fruition with the spread of their tenets to the business and military worlds, and it started in the Battle of the Atlantic, in an attempt to outfight the Germans, but most of all to outwit them. 

Product Details
Hardcover (336 pages)
Published: February 19, 2013
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307595966
Other books byStephen Budiansky
  • Blackett's War

    Blackett's War
    The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and...
    A Washington Post Notable Book In March 1941, after a year of devastating U-boat attacks, the British War Cabinet turned to an intensely private, bohemian physicist named Patrick Blackett to turn the tide of the naval campaign. Though he is little remembered today, Blackett did as much as anyone to defeat Nazi Germany, by revolutionizing the Allied anti-submarine effort through the disciplined, systematic implementation of simple mathematics and probability theory. This is the story of how British and American civilian intellectuals helped change the nature of twentieth-century warfare, by convincing disbelieving military brass to trust the new field of operational research.

    The Bloody Shirt

    The Bloody Shirt
    Terror After the Civil War
    A gripping look at terrorist violence during the Reconstruction era Between 1867, when the defeated South was forced to establish new state governments that fully represented both black and white citizens, and 1877, when the last of these governments was overthrown, more than three thousand African Americans and their white allies were killed by terrorist violence. Drawing on original letters and diaries as well as published racist diatribes of the time, acclaimed historian Stephen Budiansky concentrates his vivid, fast paced narrative on the efforts of five heroic men?two Union officers, a Confederate general, a Northern entrepreneur, and a former slave?who showed remarkable idealism and courage as they struggled to establish a ?New South? in the face of overwhelming hatred and organized resistance. The Bloody Shirt sheds new light on the violence, racism, division, and heroism of Reconstruction, a largely forgotten but epochal chapter in American history.

    Air Power

    Air Power
    The Men, Machines, and Ideas That...
    No single human invention has transformed war more than the airplane—not even the atomic bomb. Even before the Wright Brothers’ first flight, predictions abounded of the devastating and terrible consequences this new invention would have as an engine of war. Soaring over the battlefield, the airplane became an unstoppable force that left no spot on earth safe from attack. Drawing on combat memoirs, letters, diaries, archival records, museum collections, and eyewitness accounts by the men who fought—and the men who developed the breakthrough inventions and concepts—acclaimed author Stephen Budiansky weaves a vivid and dramatic account of the airplane’s revolutionary transformation of modern warfare. On the web: http://www.budiansky.com/

    Her Majesty's Spymaster

    Her Majesty's Spymaster
    Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the...
    Sir Francis Walsingham’s official title was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I, but in fact this pious, tight-lipped Puritan was England’s first spymaster. A ruthless, fiercely loyal civil servant, Walsingham worked brilliantly behind the scenes to foil Elizabeth’s rival Mary Queen of Scots and outwit Catholic Spain and France, which had arrayed their forces behind her. Though he cut an incongruous figure in Elizabeth’s worldly court, Walsingham managed to win the trust of key players like William Cecil and the Earl of Leicester before launching his own secret campaign against the queen’s enemies. Covert operations were Walsingham’s genius; he pioneered techniques for exploiting double agents, spreading disinformation, and deciphering codes with the latest code-breaking science that remain staples of international espionage.

Favorite QuotesFROM THIS BOOK
Quote Cannot be Empty

Submitted quotes are usually posted within 48 hours

ThanksYour Quote Will be posted Shortly
Bookish