A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
On August 29, 1949, the first Soviet test bomb, dubbed "First Lightning," exploded in the deserts of Kazakhstan. This surprising international event marked the beginning of an arms race that would ultimately lead to nuclear proliferation beyond the two superpowers of the Soviet Union and the United States.
With the use of newly opened archives, Michael D. Gordin folows a trail of espionage, secrecy, deception, political brinksmanship, and technical innovation to provide a fresh understanding of the nuclear arms race.
A riveting, minute-by-minute account of the momentous event that changed our world forever
On a quiet Monday morning in August 1945, a five-ton bomb--dubbed Little Boy by its creators--was dropped from an American plane onto the Japanese city of Hiroshima. On that day, a firestorm of previously unimagined power was unleashed on a vibrant metropolis of 300,000 people, leaving one third of its population dead, its buildings and landmarks incinerated. It was the terrifying dawn of the Atomic Age, spawning decades of paranoia, mistrust, and a widespread and very real fear of the potential annihilation of the human race.
Author Stephen Walker brilliantly re-creates the three terrible weeks leading up to the wartime detonation of the atomic bomb--from the first successful test in the New Mexico desert to the cataclysm and its aftermath--presenting the story through the eyes of pilots, scientists, civilian victims, and world leaders who stood at the center of earth-shattering drama. It is a startling, moving, frightening, and remarkable portrait of an extraordinary event--a shockwave whose repercussions can be felt to this very day.
In 1960 there were some 3,500 strategic nuclear weapons in the United States and by the mid-1970s there were more than 10,000. This book, written by a member of the U.S. nuclear weapons force, gives an account of that buildup and the efforts taken to keep the stockpile under control. Jerry Miller highlights the strategies, targeting and attack plans, and arms control measures associated with the bomb. He addresses the role of the military in establishing requirements and the role of the scientists in meeting those requirements and identifies the weapons' strengths and weaknesses and their significance for the future. A final chapter reviews threat scenarios and suggests actions to bring the nuclear force into line.
The final volume in Richard Rhodes's prizewinning history of nuclear weapons offers the first comprehensive narrative of the challenges faced in the post-Cold War age.The past twenty years have transformed our relationship with nuclear weapons drastically. With extraordinary depth of knowledge and understanding, Richard Rhodes makes clear how the five original nuclear powers--Russia, Great Britain, France, China, and especially the United States--have struggled with new realities. He reveals the real reasons George W. Bush chose to fight a second war in Iraq, assesses the emerging threat of nuclear terrorism, and offers advice on how our complicated relationships with North Korea and South Asia should evolve. Finally, he imagines what a post-nuclear world might look like, as only he can.
- Protect yourself during a chemical or biological attack
- Recognize the indicators of nuclear, chemical and biological attack
- Develop a simple and effective family action plan
- Guard against the radiological effects of a dirty bomb
- Assist victims of nuclear, chemical, or biological agents
- Assemble and store the everyday materials that could save your life
Statesmen, generals, and diplomats have long debated the military utility and morality of chemical warfare. In 1925, the use of chemical weapons in war was prohibited by international treaty; in 1997 the ban on the use of chemical weapons was extended to cover their development, production, and stockpiling. Nevertheless, Iraq employed chemical weapons on a large scale as recently as the 1980s, first during its eight-year war with Iran and then against its rebellious Kurdish minority.
In "War of Nerves," Jonathan Tucker, a leading expert on chemical and biological weapons, writes about chemical warfare from World War I to the present.
The author makes clear how, at the turn of the twentieth century, the large-scale use of toxic chemicals on the battlefield became feasible and cheap; how Germany first developed and employed toxic weapons during World War I, burying some 6,000 cylinders (containing 168 tons of chlorine) opposite the Allied trenches defending the town of Ypres, in Belgium. German troops simultaneously opened the chlorine cylinders, panicking two French divisions and tearing a gap four miles wide in the Ypres front.
Chemical warfare had begun: five months later, the Allies retaliated with their own use of chlorine gas. By the end of the war, chemical warfare had inflicted roughly one million casualties, 90,000 of them fatal.
Tucker writes about the synthesis of the first nerve agent--Tabun--in 1936 by a German industrial chemist developing new pesticides how its high toxicity made it unusable as a pesticide but viable as a weapon for the Nazi regime. A few years later, two even more toxic nerve agents--Sarin and Soman--were developed for military use. Hitler never employed this secret weapon; German intelligence concluded--incorrectly--that the Allies had developed a similar capability.
Following World War II, we see the rise of a Cold War chemical competition between the United States and the Soviet Union that paralleled the nuclear arms race, as each pursued the secrets of the German nerve agents; how the United States and Britain planned to mass-produce Sarin (only the United States did); how the superpowers developed and mass-produced V-agents, a new generation of nerve agents of extraordinary potency; and how nerve agents spread to the Third World, including their suspected use by Egypt during the Yemen Civil War (1963--1967), as well as Iraq's use of nerve agents in its war against Iran and on its own people. Iraq's use of nerve agents hastened the negotiation of an international treaty banning the use of chemical weapons, which went into effect in 1997. Although the treaty now has more than 175 member-states, al-Qaeda and related terrorist groups are seeking to acquire nerve agents.
In this important and revelatory book, Jonathan Tucker makes clear that we are at a crossroads that could lead either to the further spread of these weapons or to their ultimate abolition.