The Bomb: A New History [NOOK Book]

Overview

A former nuclear weapons designer and head of nuclear weapons research at Los Alamos, Stephen M. Younger delivers an insightful and urgent inquisition on the role of nuclear weapons in the twenty-first century. Does the United States need a massive atomic arsenal in an era of precision bombs and missile defense? Under what circumstances might we use nuclear weapons? And how does the proliferation of nuclear weapons by North Korea and Iran affect America's nuclear policy? With his deep understanding of the ...

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The Bomb: A New History

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Overview

A former nuclear weapons designer and head of nuclear weapons research at Los Alamos, Stephen M. Younger delivers an insightful and urgent inquisition on the role of nuclear weapons in the twenty-first century. Does the United States need a massive atomic arsenal in an era of precision bombs and missile defense? Under what circumstances might we use nuclear weapons? And how does the proliferation of nuclear weapons by North Korea and Iran affect America's nuclear policy? With his deep understanding of the technology and politics of nuclear arms, Younger challenges us to join a new debate on the future of the ultimate weapon.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Reed (former secretary of the air force) has joined with veteran Los Alamos physicist Stillman to write a complement to his earlier At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War. This book illustrates how nuclear technology and scientific knowledge was developed and distributed according to decisions made within fluctuating global geopolitical contexts. Even "peaceful" research and energy programs can be easily co-opted for military uses. While radical Islamic fundamentalism is clearly a dangerous threat to a weakened America, the authors emphasize how an ambitious and rising China has been quick to aid proliferation in its bid to become the world's leading power. Most important is the human element-who decides to use the weapons and why-and this is not always predictable or preventable. It is all very alarming, no doubt what the authors intended. Suitable for academic and public libraries. (Index not seen.)

Younger's book follows logically from his earlier Endangered Species: How We Can Avoid Mass Destruction and Build a Lasting Peace. Younger certainly knows the high-level policy issues, having been a former director of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency. He wants to dispel dangerous myths and inform the debate about the role of nuclear weapons. So while he adds some interesting details to the standard nuclear history of the world, the key chapters are about defense against attack, maintaining our forces, and what the future might bring; these chapters could have been even longer at the expense of the history chapters. Younger believes that nuclear weapons will always be with us, certainly as a deterrent to other countries, and that we should modernizeour forces to make them safer and less vulnerable. According to the author, there is no bibliography or reference notes in the interest of fairness and security. Suitable for academic and public libraries. (Index not seen.)

Tucker, a former nuclear engineer aboard the submarine U.S.S. Alabama, gives us two stories. The first is about the explosion of army nuclear reactor SL-1, probably caused by poor design, maintenance, performance, and procedures, that killed three men in Idaho on January 3, 1961. More importantly, he describes the development of nuclear power from experimental reactors to practical applications for military purposes, with small and powerful designs. There are interesting details about fantastically expensive (and dangerous) proposals for nuclear-powered bombers and an extensive mobile missile system under the Arctic ice, but the centerpiece of the book is a project tightly managed by Adm. Hyman Rickover that led to nuclear submarines and surface ships, now the core of the U.S. Navy. The Cold War was just the bitter context; desperate bureaucratic infighting and program survival at times seemed more important to the Pentagon brass. This is interesting scientific and administrative military history, though the SL-1 event is covered more extensively in William McKeown's Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America's First Nuclear Accident. Suitable for academic and large public libraries. (Index not seen.) All three books convey the message that we must maintain constant vigilance, though Reed and Stillman deliver the best work.
—Dan Blewett

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061984129
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Stephen M. Younger is a senior policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He recently retired as a senior fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was in charge of nuclear weapons research and development. From 2001 to 2004, he was director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency at the U.S. Department of Defense. He lives in Las Vegas.

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Table of Contents

List of illustrations

Introduction Why Nuclear Weapons in the Twenty-first Century? 1

1 A Short History of Nuclear Weapons 13

2 How Did We Arrive at the Theory of Mutually Assured Destruction? 45

3 Current Nuclear Arsenals 69

4 Targets and Targeting 98

5 Replacing Nuclear Weapons with Advanced Conventional Weapons 117

6 Nuclear Proliferation 133

7 Defense Against Nuclear Attack 156

8 Maintaining Our Nuclear Forces 174

9 The Role of Nuclear Weapons in the Twenty-first Century 198

Index 221

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    Not so fast...

    A Wikipedia entry at best. Read Richard Rhodes books Dark Sun or The Making Of The Atomic Bomb. Much better books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 27, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Nuclear Weapons 101

    The author has produced a tightly written history of 'The Bomb' and then takes you step by step as to the many issues relating to the development, potential use, and the geopolitical considerations relative to design, deployment and consequnces of use.

    Well thought out and written to be understood by the lay person or the scientific community. Very thought provoking and eye opening. Great, (if a bit brief), read!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted April 18, 2010

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    Posted August 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted August 31, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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