Doctor uncovered

July 27, 2007

I am sorry that Gerard DeGroot, the reviewer of my book Doomsday Men: The Real Dr Strangelove and the Dream of the Superweapon , did not appreciate my attempt to explore weapons of mass destruction through cultural history.

However, his introductory comment - that I fail to name the real Dr Strangelove - is untrue. On page 426 I state: "The references to Peenemunde and the concentration camps in the film's novelisation make it abundantly clear that Wernher von Braun was Peter George's main model for Dr Strangelove."

DeGroot says: "A number of possibilities are presented. The physicists Robert Oppenheimer and Leo Szilard figure prominently on the jacket, but given their eventual disillusionment with nuclear weaponry, they hardly fit the bill."

At no point do I argue that either of these scientists is the model for Dr Strangelove. Furthermore, Szilard is not pictured on the cover.

P. D. Smith
Honorary research fellow
University College London

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