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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.
“A fascinating portrayal of how science contributed to winning the war in Europe.” —The Wall Street Journal
“A terrific story, exciting, illuminating, well told.” —Dallas Morning News
“Lively and enlightening. . . . Budiansky knowingly and entertainingly re-creates the almost constant struggle between hidebound military traditionalists and the clever civilians who saved them.” —The Washington Post
“Engaging. . . . A finely wrought and well-sourced social history of elite science’s wartime mobilization. . . . A wonderful revisionist history of how intelligence derived from Bletchley Park’s breakthroughs combined with Blackett’s operational research to bypass and destroy the Nazi Wolfpacks.” —Fortune
“Budiansky has mastered the difficulties of the story, making it very readable and compelling . . . an important work.” —New York Journal of Books
“A fascinating and skilful blend of naval warfare, science, and British social history with a richly diverse cast of characters.” —World War II Magazine
“Little-known story of the Allied scientists whose unconventional thinking helped thwart the Nazi U-boats in World War II. . . . An excellent, well-researched account . . . an engrossing work rich in insights and anecdotes.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The little known history of a linchpin in the Allies’ victory over the Nazis: Patrick Blackett. . . . For military history and science fans alike.”