Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226204574 Published October 2014 Not for sale in Europe or the British Commonwealth except Canada
E-book $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226204604 Published October 2014 Not for sale in Europe or the British Commonwealth except Canada

Serving the Reich

The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler

Philip Ball

Serving the Reich
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Philip Ball

320 pages | 6 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $30.00 ISBN: 9780226204574 Published October 2014 Not for sale in Europe or the British Commonwealth except Canada
E-book $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226204604 Published October 2014 Not for sale in Europe or the British Commonwealth except Canada
After World War II, most scientists in Germany maintained that they had been apolitical or actively resisted the Nazi regime, but the true story is much more complicated. In Serving the Reich, Philip Ball takes a fresh look at that controversial history, contrasting the career of Peter Debye, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, with those of two other leading physicists in Germany during the Third Reich: Max Planck, the elder statesman of physics after whom Germany’s premier scientific society is now named, and Werner Heisenberg, who succeeded Debye as director of the institute when it became focused on the development of nuclear power and weapons.        
 
Mixing history, science, and biography, Ball’s gripping exploration of the lives of scientists under Nazism offers a powerful portrait of moral choice and personal responsibility, as scientists navigated “the grey zone between complicity and resistance.” Ball’s account of the different choices these three men and their colleagues made shows how there can be no clear-cut answers or judgement of their conduct. Yet, despite these ambiguities, Ball makes it undeniable that the German scientific establishment as a whole mounted no serious resistance to the Nazis, and in many ways acted as a willing instrument of the state.
 
Serving the Reich considers what this problematic history can tell us about the relationship of science and politics today. Ultimately, Ball argues, a determination to present science as an abstract inquiry into nature that is “above politics” can leave science and scientists dangerously compromised and vulnerable to political manipulation.
Times Higher Education
“Asks important questions, not just about twentieth-century German science but about the nature of science and the response of scientists to the political world we perforce inhabit. All scientists should read and ponder its contents.”
Nature
“Ball does an outstanding service by reminding us how powerful and sometimes confusing the pressures were and how it was not implausible to think that scientists could and should stay ‘above politics.’ . . . Packed with dramatic, moving, and even comical moments.”
New Statesman
“Ball’s book shows what can happen to morality when cleverness and discovery are valued above all else.”
Tablet
“A fascinating account of the moral dilemmas faced by German physicists working within Nazism. Impeccably researched.”
Times Literary Supplement
“A fine book.”
Kirkus
“How much did Nazism compromise its scientists? In this polished account, Ball finds that the jury is still out, even as the evidence mounts and the pursuit of firsthand records and documentary testimony continues.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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