Audra J. Wolfe
Competing with the Soviets
Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America
Johns Hopkins University Press 2013
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books in Science, Technology, and SocietyNew Books Network February 4, 2013 Carla Nappi
Audra Wolfe‘s new book, Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America (John Hopkins University Press, 2013) offers a synthetic account of American science during the Cold War. Wolfe pulls together a rich and disparate literature to provide a thematic, chronological and accessible story about the distinctive ways that Americans wove science and government together for the five decades after WWII. Beyond the familiar story of physics, Wolfe shows not only how science prospered under federal patronage but how the federal government itself came to depend on science as it tried to deal with the problems it faced around the world and at home. The nature of American science, and the promise of american modernity, was put on display in works and institutions as varied modernization theory and the Apollo missions. Wolfe has written a delightful little book offering the historical state of the art for those interested in thinking about the characteristic relationships forged between science and the state during the Cold War and their lasting consequences.