People of the Bomb: Portraits of America's Nuclear Complex

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Overview

We have had the bomb on our minds since 1945. It was first our weaponry and then our diplomacy, and now it's our economy. How can we suppose that something so monstrously powerful would not, after forty years, compose our identity? -E. L. DoctorowThis book tells the story of how-like it or not, know it or not-we have become "the people of the bomb." Integrating fifteen years of field research at weapons laboratories across the United States with discussion of popular movies, political speeches, media coverage of war, and the arcane literature of defense intellectuals, Hugh Gusterson shows how the military-industrial complex has built consent for its programs and, in the process, taken the public "nuclear." People of the Bomb mixes empathic and vivid portraits of individual weapons scientists with hard-hitting scrutiny of defense intellectuals' inability to foresee the end of the cold war, government rhetoric on missile defense, official double standards about nuclear proliferation, and pork barrel politics in the nuclear weapons complex. Overall, the book assembles a disturbing picture of the ways in which the military-industrial complex has transformed our public culture and personal psychology in the half century since we entered the nuclear age. Hugh Gusterson is associate professor of anthropology and science studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and professor of public policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is the author of Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War (1996) and coeditor of Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities, and the Production of Danger (Minnesota, 1999). Lynne Cheney's American Council of Trustees and Alumni named him one of the most dangerous intellectuals in the United States today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816638598
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
  • Publication date: 6/19/2004
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 5.88 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction : securityscapes
1 Becoming a weapons scientist 3
2 Nuclear weapons and the other in the western imagination 21
3 Short circuit : watching television with a nuclear weapons scientist 51
4 Hiroshima, the Gulf War, and the disappearing body 63
5 Presenting the creation : Dean Acheson and NATO 85
6 Missing the end of the Cold War in security studies 100
7 Cultures as strategic hamlets : an anthropologist reads Samuel Huntington 121
8 Nuclear weapons testing as scientific ritual 147
9 The virtual nuclear weapons laboratory in the new world order 165
10 The death of the authors of death : prestige and creativity among nuclear weapons scientists 187
11 How not to construct an incinerator 206
Postscript : tall tales and deceptive discourses : nuclear weapons in George W. Bush's America 221
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