Since man first wielded a stick in anger, war and conflict have been prime movers in the progress of science and technology. In our earliest days the impetus may have been as simple as protecting territory or a food supply; more recently science has benefited from massive injections of cash when national security is at stake. But as Michael White demonstrates in this superbly wide-ranging and brilliant history of innovation, almost all major technological developments can be traced back to times of war. From the arrow to ...

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