Prof: The Life of Frederick Lindemann by Adrian Fort - review by Richard Overy

Richard Overy

Churchill’s Pet Boffin

Prof: The Life of Frederick Lindemann


Jonathan Cape 377pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

ONE OF THE more excruciating stories about Frederick Lindemann's last years at Oxford concerns a visiting Australian soldier at high table in Christ Church who dared to make a disparaging remark about Churchill. Lindemann had been Churchill's private scientific and economic adviser during the Second World War. Words were exchanged, and as Lindemann rose and left the Common Room he said loudly enough for all to hear: 'You can always hear the chains clanking, with those people.'

A great many similar anecdotes enliven Adrian Fort's welcome biography of the scientist who, in two wars, strove to unite science and the conduct of war, and who became, briefly, the Establishment's pet boffin. Lindemann, later created Lord Cherwell, was the son of a successful German businessman who settled in

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