Making Weapons, Talking Peace: A Physicist's Odyssey from Hiroshima to Geneva

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This thought-provoking book conveys subtly its author's ``sense of sin'' (J. Robert Oppenheimer once said the original A-bomb scientists ``knew sin'' after Hiroshima) stemming from his apprenticeship as a nuclear physicist under Ernest Lawrence at the Berkeley Radiation Lab and at Livermore immediately before the Manhattan Project tested the first A-bomb at Los Alamos. York, in the decades following 1945, ventured into consultant, advisory, administrative and ultimately quasi-diplomatic roles that found him working with nuclear greats like Oppenheimer, Hans Betha, Edward Teller and others. Fragmentarily but often tellingly, he offers glimpses of the post-Sputnik response that took the form of a nationwide debate among politicos and scientists about Teller's proposed H-Bomb. York presents fresh insights into the history of the arms race that he sees today as one of the horns of a frightening superpower dilemmaas noted in the book's title. He culminates with a description of his participation in the ill-fated Salt II Treaty negotiated in Geneva. Photos. (November 23)
Library Journal
Berkowitz was an analyst with the CIA, while York, a distinguished physicist and nuclear weapons developer, was chief negotiator at the Comprehensive Test Ban talks under President Carter. Both see arms control as a means and not an end in itself. Arms control is necessary in our nuclear world but it has limitations that must be understood. York's autobiographical work indicates that it took him some 20 years to appreciate the need for a political solution to the arms race. His early years were devoted to pushing advanced technology at the Livermore Laboratory and as director of defense research and engineering under Eisenhower. Berkowitz sketches the history of arms control from the Washington Naval Conference of 1922 to the present. He sees arms control as essential in our high-tech nuclear age, both reducing the probability of war and decreasing the expense of the arms race. However, it can't stop the development of military technology as military applications can't be separated from technology itself. Both works are recommended for their fresh analysis on arms control, York's perspective as an insider, and Berkowitz's realistic viewpoint.Dennis Felbel, Univ. of Manitoba Libs., Winnipeg, Canada
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