Command and Control
Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
In this book the aurhor, an investigative journalist digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, this book explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved, and the author reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind. The book interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than fifty years. It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policymakers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can't be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. The author also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust. At the heart of the book lies the struggle, amid the rolling hills and small farms of Damascus, Arkansas, to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States. Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with men who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, it takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view. Through the details of a single accident, the author illustrates how an unlikely event can become unavoidable, how small risks can have terrible consequences, and how the most brilliant minds in the nation can only provide us with an illusion of control. This is a an eye-opening look at the dangers of America's nuclear age. -- Publisher's description.
Presents a minute-by-minute account of an H-bomb accident that nearly caused a nuclear disaster, examining other near misses and America's growing susceptibility to a catastrophic event.
New York : The Penguin Press, 2013
Branch Call Number:
xxiii, 632 pages ; 25 cm