Children's LiteratureThe age in which we live features ongoing fear about the potential use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists or the leaders of rogue states. Yet, although fear of such cataclysmic actions is quite justified it is not a novel phenomenon. During the Cold War years that stretched from the end of World War Two to the dawning of the 1990's fear of nuclear war was both justified and realistic. In those decades the nuclear arsenals of many nations, and in particular the USA and the USSR, were aimed at one another in a manner that could have generated global destruction on an unimaginable scale. Thus, it is seemingly amazing that the Cold War did not spawn such international use of nuclear weapons and the attendant annihilation that would have ensued. In Weapons of Peace author Craig Blohm describes the seemingly paradoxical circumstance wherein the most destructive armaments ever conceived and constructed actually served as deterrents to world war. As Blohm notes the very fact that nuclear weapons were so universally destructive acted as a brake to their usage. Hence, the understanding that either side's use of these destructive weapons would have resulted in mutually assured destruction deterred such an eventuality. Herein, as the author of this well written chapter in "The Cold War" series indicates, lay both the greatest result and the gravest risk of that era. Craig Blohm's carefully written book handles this complicated subject in a professional and informative manner and is one that students of this age will enjoy. 2003, Lucent Books, Romaneck
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 6 Up-In-depth examinations of specific aspects of the Cold War. Weapons, the better of the two, looks at the destructive power of nuclear arms and describes how fear of their use led to a balance of power between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Blohm discusses the development of the atomic bomb, and describes the air, missile, and submarine systems used to deliver it. He also discusses defensive and antiballistic missile systems, arms-control treaties, and the continuing danger from nuclear threats since the end of the Cold War. Keeley examines how the United States, in the name of containing communism, became involved in armed conflicts in Berlin, Korea, Egypt, Cuba, Vietnam, Angola, and, through the Iran-Contra Affair, in Nicaragua. Although the title indicates emphasis on American actions, the author sometimes fails to provide enough background about Soviet actions, a weakness that limits context and will reduce student understanding of the reasons the United States acted or reacted as it did. Both books include sidebars that excerpt primary sources and average-quality, black-and-white photos. The authors provide extensive documentation and are largely evenhanded in their discussions of the motives and actions of the Soviets and Americans. Although these books do not have the scope of single-volume titles such as James Warren's Cold War: The American Crusade against Communism 1945-1991 (Lothrop, 1996), they are good supplemental purchases.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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