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World War II

Big Science: Ernest Lawrence  and the Invention that Launched the  Military-Industrial Complex. By Michael Hiltzik. Simon & Schuster, 2015. 518p. HB, $30.

Berkeley and the Bomb

It was a momentous decision, not only for Lawrence and the university but also for science—and, arguably, for the rest of us. For while Lawrence would have found success at almost any institution, Berkeley was one of the few whose ambitions matched his own. Without Berkeley, and without the support of the state of California, Lawrence might not have realized his vision, and we might not be living with its profound consequences.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Schreiber

Dehn (pronounced “Dane”) resurrected or reinvented at least three genres given up for dead at the time: the British mystery, the Shakespeare adaptation, and the spy film. He understood a thing or two about espionage, having taught and then practiced it with distinction during World War II. Yet the hundredth anniversary of Dehn’s birth has passed without the merest hiccup of notice.

Cartoons With a Purpose

In Up Front, we have here not only the wonderful drawings with which Bill Mauldin made his fame but a singularly able commentary on how the drawings were conceived and on the war itself, on war itself. You will recognize many of the drawings, but there are others which, even now, can be properly appreciated only by combat soldiers.

The Future of Industrial Man

This war is being fought over the structure of industrial society—its basic principles, its purposes, and its institutions. It has one issue, only one: the social and political order of the entirely new physical reality Western man has built up as his habitat since James Watt invented the steam engine almost two hundred years ago.

9 Sencu Iela

On the night of August 3, 1944—in the hot crickety darkness of Riga, Latvia—my grandparents did two remarkable things. After midnight, while his children were sleeping, my grandfather—Harijs Mindenbergs—sat down at the kitchen table and wrote three letters: One to Benita, his wife. One to Juris, his son. And one to Ruta, his daughter and my mother. Soviet troops were advancing toward the city. In five hours, most of the family would flee to Germany.

Illustration by Gary Panter

The 13th Egg

September 1946 Everett had no idea how long his parents had been standing outside his bedroom door. He hadn’t heard them knock or try the knob, hadn’t heard them call out. But by the time he opened the door his father was kneeling at the loc [...]

Shaw and the Sound Barrier

There seem very few subjects in which Shaw was not interested, and fewer still on which he was not prepared to express his opinion. Nevertheless, it may surprise most people to learn that towards the end of his life the ubiquitous playwright concerned himself with such advanced ideas as space-travel and supersonic flight. 

Nazi Literature in the Americas

In 1917 she met the rancher and entrepreneur Sebastian Mendiluce, twenty years her senior. Everyone was surprised when they announced their engagement, after only a few months. According to people who knew him at the time, Mendiluce thought little of literature in general and poetry in particular, had no artistic sensibility (although he did occasionally go to the opera), and his conversation was on a par with that of his farmhands and factory workers. He was tall and energetic, but not handsome by any standard. There was, however, no disputing his inexhaustible wealth.

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