18 April, 2021

Churchill’s Famine?

A new book indicts Britain’s wartime PM for millions of deaths in the 1943 Bengal famine

Tarak Das
Churchill’s Famine?

Madhusree Mukerjee, physicist and former editor of Scientific American, “currently a housewife” living in Germany with her husband and son, has a curious way of writing books: she catches hold of any subject that she wants to learn about, no matter how difficult or complex, and doesn’t let go until she’s ferreted out whatever it takes to answer her questions as a rank outsider. She puts it down to her training in  scientific method—Mukerjee lived in Calcutta until she moved to the US to study physics, receiving her doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1989. “As a physicist, you are trained to simplify problems so that they become more comprehensible,” she says in a telephone interview from near Frankfurt in Germany.

The first time she strayed away from science journalism was when she decided to learn about the aboriginals in the Andamans islands. “I felt at some point that I understood pretty well the basics of science, but there was a lot about the human environment...

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