FROM APES TO WARLORDS by Solly Zuckerman


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An urbane, buoyant memoir by a comparative anatomist who during World War II found himself in the thick of Anglo-American strategic bombing debates. A South African Jew who migrated to Britain as a medical student and devoted himself to the study of primates at the London Zoo, with results foreshadowing the development of ""the pill,"" Zuckerman became very much of and in the younger Establishment, with friends including Evelyn Waugh, Julian Huxley, Lancelot Hogben, and Charles Laughton. But he kept a breezy distance from institutionally rigid thinking, and thus was shocked as a scientific adviser to the ""bomber chiefs"" to find ""that the most obviously rational propositions had often to be fought for."" About two-thirds of the book is devoted to his studies of and battles over the advantages of bombing transportation facilities as opposed to terror bombing of civilians or ""area"" bombing of industry, and it is readable down to the last footnote on the Tots and Quots dinner club discussions of the role of science in wartime. Zuckerman is not introspective, either about himself or about the period; with relish, he gives a delightful sense of both, and it would be a shame if his relative lack of fame here (despite a rather hilarious interlude at Yale in the early Thirties) deprived readers of this caustic but ever so good-natured volume.

Pub Date: Jan. 22nd, 1977
Publisher: Harper & Row