A fresh, new take on the Great War that uncovers how wartime research laid the foundations for much scientific progress in the twentieth century.
The First World War is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this a scientific war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, physicists, doctors, mathematicians and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea and in the air, and most importantly life at home.
Secret Warriors provides an invaluable and fresh history of the First World War, profiling a number of the key figures who made great leaps in science for the benefit of 20th Century Britain. Told in a lively, narrative style, Secret Warriors reveals the unknown side of the war.
Exactly what you want from a history of the boffins and technological pioneers of the First World War. There are bluff military adventurers and clumsy gentleman scientists — The Times
[A] fascinating new take on the Great War — Daily Express
Secret Warriors is a compelling insight into the role intellectuals can play in the business of war — History of War magazine
Unique and timely, interesting and useful — Military History
[A] fascinating study — New Statesman
Lucid and entertaining . . . Secret Warriors is full of interesting characters . . . The straightforward story Downing tells is a refreshing change from older treatments of science and war — Nature
The war started the long road to the world of cyber warriors, electronic eavesdropping and large-scale chemical weapons we know today. It is a fearsome legacy, and Downing charts its birth with knowledge, wit and skill — Literary Review
Downing delivers a riveting account — Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly
A very successful work. Downing's voice is clear and highly readable — Library Journal
an ingenious history that sets aside WWI's immense slaughter in order to concentrate on those who labored behind the scenes . . . Downing delivers a riveting account — Publishers Weekly
Secret Warriors lifts the lid on an underappreciated cast of characters — Herald