A counter argument to those who consider explosives the root factor of human destruction, this text traces the development of explosives as a factor both of good and evil. The early uses of explosives by the Chinese, the instigation of firearms by the monk, Berthold, and the analysis of gunpowder by the Franciscan, Friar Roger Bacon, are explained as man's initial steps toward the mastery of a dangerous and potent force. The author follows the course of man-controlled and manipulated explosions through the smashing of the atom, in a text which is both analytically and factually explicit. In the space age, scientists of every field must concern themselves with the properties and potentials of explosives. This careful study provides potential scientists with a concrete introduction to the theoretical and applied aspects of their field.