In This Review

The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford
The Cold War and American Science: The Military-Industrial-Academic Complex at MIT and Stanford
By Stuart W. Leslie
332 pp, Columbia University Press, 1994
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Leslie makes a powerful case for his central thesis -- that defense spending affected the development of postwar American academic science -- by examining the cases of MIT and Stanford. What does not follow is his conclusion (and his entering assumption) that this was a reprehensible thing. Indeed, at the very end he creditably concedes that "no one can assert with any confidence exactly where a science and engineering driven by other assumptions and priorities would have taken us." Cross-national comparisons with other countries might help answer this question, but that is beyond the purview of this book. Leslie thoroughly documents the ways in which the Cold War shaped this crucial segment of American life; one suspects that this monograph will prove an important building block for a larger synthesis of the subject.