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Alsos by Samuel Goudsmit (with an introduction by David C. Cassidy; 60,000 words and 36 illustrations)

Near the end of World War II, as Allied armies swept across battle-torn Germany and leading scientists at Los Alamos were racing to assemble the atomic bombs America would drop over Japan later that summer, General Leslie Groves, the military head of the Manhattan Project, established Alsos, a unit of scientists, soldiers, and secret agents to find the Nazi Germany’s physicists and technicians working on the development of a German atomic bomb and to determine how far along they were. In this book, Samuel Goudsmit, the Dutch-American physicist who was the scientific leader of the Alsos mission, recounts the mission and its findings.

Alsos is more than a dramatic chronicle of how Goudsmit and his staff accompanied Allied troops in order to ferret out German atomic secrets and round up German scientists who might have been working on a fission bomb. It is also an overview and critique of the German research establishment under Nazi control.” — Albert Moyer, American Scientist

“Highly readable and informative... [T]he immediacy of Goudsmit’s experience makes this memoir of enduring value... inspired story-telling that provides in retrospect a great deal of information on the operations of the postwar intelligence teams... An extraordinary book.” — Alan Beyerchen, New Scientist

“Samuel Goudsmit... the scientific leader of Alsos... tells the fascinating story of the mission’s work... To the extent that the average citizen is permitted to learn how his servants spend his money for the purpose of insuring his safety, it will be useful for every intelligent American to hear Goudsmit’s story and ponder his views. In any case, Alsos is highly entertaining... Goudsmit’s assessment of Nazi war science is excellent... There are a lot of things in Goudsmit’s book that we had better keep in mind.” — Paul Ridenour, The New York Times

“[Goudsmit’s] short memoir is a thrilling combination of detective story and scientific deduction.” — Stephen Budiansky, Wall Street Journal

“[Alsos] is the compelling story of what the Germans did [to develop an atomic bomb], what went wrong and why.” — Lee Dembart, Los Angeles Times

“For the history of science this chatty little book is surely one of the most important books to emerge from World War II, since it is the account of one of the most absorbing war assignments to fall to the lot of any scientist.” — Henri Guerlac, Isis, A Journal of the History of Science Society