cover of book

The Politics of Pure Science
by Daniel S. Greenberg
University of Chicago Press, 1999
Cloth: 978-0-226-30631-5 | Paper: 978-0-226-30632-2
Library of Congress Classification Q127.U6G68 1999
Dewey Decimal Classification 509.73

The Politics of Pure Science, a pioneering and controversial work, set a new standard for the realistic examination of the place of science in American politics and society. Dispelling the myth of scientific purity and detachment, Daniel S. Greenberg documents in revealing detail the political processes that underpinned government funding of science from the 1940s to the 1970s.

While the book's hard-hitting approach earned praise from a broad audience, it drew harsh fire from many scientists, who did not relish their turn under the microscope. The fact that this dispute is so reminiscent of today's acrimonious "Science Wars" demonstrates that although science has changed a great deal since The Politics of Pure Science first appeared, the politics of science has not—which is why this book retains its importance.

For this new edition, John Maddox (Nature editor emeritus) and Steven Shapin have provided introductory essays that situate the book in broad social and historical context, and Greenberg has written a new afterword taking account of recent developments in the politics of science.

"[A] book of consequence about science as one of the more consequential social institutions in the modern world. It is one that could be understood and should be read by the President, legislators, scientists and the rest of us ordinary folk. . . . Informative and perceptive."—Robert K. Merton, New York Times Book Review
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