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Competing with the Soviets


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An impressive synthesis of a massive quantity of sources. Wolfe writes forcefully and clearly with occasional sparkles of wit, while managing to navigate a balanced course through some rather heated historiographical disputes. She succeeds brilliantly. -- Michael D. Gordin, Princeton University

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. The Atomic Age
2. The Military-Industrial Complex
3. Big Science
4. Hearts and Minds and Markets
5. Science and the General Welfare
6. The Race to the Moon
7. The End of Consensus
8. Cold War Redux
Suggested Further Reading

About the Author

Audra J. Wolfe is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia.


Wolfe's book is the more traditional alternative to the case study: a synthetic overview. And it is a reminder of how valuable a clear, well-researched synthesis-one sophisticated, holistic take on all those little case studies-can be. AmericanScience A book that is particularly easy to read, and hence one that I strongly recommend to anyone with a burgeoning interest in the study of Cold War science. -- Christopher Hollings British Journal for the History of Science Competing with the Soviets is engaging, and its style of scholarship will intimidate no one. Despite being a synthesis of a huge range of events and sources, the book is slim and easily digested, and readers need no prerequisite science to evaluate the author's ideas. Wolfe takes us from one constellation of promises to the next, showing how scientists tried-and quite often failed-to apply their world views to a multitude of society's problems. -- Jacob Darwin Hamblin Chemical Heritage Magazine Wolfe has done a marvelous job of X-raying the field, grounding the larger narrative with important case studies... The task ahead lies in challenging and enriching-with new topics and novel periodization-the settled framework for interpreting American science in the Cold War. For novice and expert alike, Wolfe's beautifully presented guide is an excellent place to start. -- Benjamin Wilson Endeavour In Competing with the Soviets, Audra J. Wolfe provides an excellent overview of Cold War science. She accomplishes the difficult task of synthesizing a massive amount of both history and historiography into a highly readable arrative. -- David K. Hecht Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences Audra J. Wolfe's short and smart introduction to the history of Cold War science and technology, Competing with the Soviets... pulls together a tremendous number of secondary sources, folding the complexities of this period into a broad overview that takes the reader through many familiar, and some less familiar, topics. -- Brian Balmer Isis Competing with the Soviets is one of the few works of synthesis that actively creates creative and novel interpretations... -- Russell Olwell Technology and Culture

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