Blackett's War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare
by Stephen Budiansky
Knopf, 2013 ($27.95)

During World War II a relatively unheralded group of civilian researchers, led by British ex-naval officer and future Nobel Prize–winning physicist Patrick Blackett, collaborated on finding ways to subdue the Nazi U-boat fleet. Journalist Budiansky details how Blackett and his colleagues' unconventional application of science and mathematics changed military strategy—for example, by applying probability theory to help determine the location of submarines.