The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation

The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and Its Proliferation

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by Thomas C. Reed, Danny B. Stillman
     
 

The sense of relief the world felt at the end of the Cold War has been replaced with a different kind of Armageddon nightmare. Instead of an East–West power struggle with the rest of the world on the sidelines, the collective dread this time is over terrorist organizations getting their hands on a nuclear weapon, then using it to effect chaos and collapse on

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Overview

The sense of relief the world felt at the end of the Cold War has been replaced with a different kind of Armageddon nightmare. Instead of an East–West power struggle with the rest of the world on the sidelines, the collective dread this time is over terrorist organizations getting their hands on a nuclear weapon, then using it to effect chaos and collapse on civil society.

Written by two of the world’s foremost nuclear weapons experts, The Nuclear Express addresses how the world got to where it is today. If we are to make the right choices now, we need to understand the history of nuclear weapons and the politics that surround them.

 

Instead of fertilizer, suppose that Mr. Yousef [first World Trade Center bombing] had been able to place a primitive, five-kiloton nuclear weapon in the back of his truck. Since that vehicle had a one-ton capacity and three hundred cubic feet of drayage space, the very low-tech South African nuclear device developed during the 1980s would have fit nicely. After that February 1993 fertilizer attack, the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories ran some calculations on the theoretical results of a five-kiloton explosion on the streets of lower Manhattan on February 26, 1993, given the wind and weather conditions on that day. The most frightening results of such an attack could have been:

·      Most buildings south of Central Park destroyed, their inhabitants dead

·      Millions of other New Yorkers, once living south of 125th Street, dying of radiation effects

·      Millions more throughout the metropolitan area suffering acute radiation sickness

·      Much of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Hoboken set on fire

 

Unless we are attentive to history, a terrorist organization will soon be able to assemble and place such an A-bomb within a truck, ship, or container and deliver the same to the heart of any number of U.S. cities. Even “small and inefficient” nuclear weapons could have a devastating effect on American society and its institutions. But is the simple raining of death and destruction on the West the only goal of these people? The jihadists and/or their patrons may have grander ambitions.

—from The Nuclear Express

 

 

Thomas C. Reed is a former nuclear weapons designer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, political manager for Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial contests, Secretary of the Air Force under presidents Ford and Carter, Special Assistant to President Reagan for National Security Policy, and a successful businessman. Reed wrote an autobiographical account of his experiences titled At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War. Reed is a frequent visitor to Russia and Ukraine and is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Southern California. He resides in northern California.

 

Danny B. Stillman is a Los Alamos physicist with decades of experience in nuclear design, diagnostics, and testing. For thirteen years Stillman directed the Los Alamos Technical Intelligence Division; at the end of that tour he was awarded the Intelligence Community Seal Medallion. Stillman is an engineering physics graduate of University of Washington. He lives in White Rock, New Mexico.

 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780760335024
Publisher:
Zenith Press
Publication date:
01/02/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
400
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.60(d)

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