Madhusree Mukerjee distinguished herself at Scientific American for the depth of her knowledge about string and related theory as well as the elegance of her news and feature writing.

After she left, the trained physicist applied her writing prowess to a book on the Andaman Islanders and recently to Churchill’s Secret War, a scathing investigation from a raft of primary sources that revealed how direct decisionmaking by Winston Churchill led to massive famine on the Indian subcontinent.

Meet Madhusree in this recent interview in Harper’s in which she parries gracefully a series of sharp questions from interviewer Scott Horton. Harper’s labels her book a “bombshell.”

So what do Churchill’s politics have to do with science?

Read this excerpt, published previously on Scientific American, which profiles a scientist/bureaucrat appointed by Churchill who brought a coldly rational approach to carrying out policies that bled the Indians.