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Bridled Ambition: Why Countries Constrain Their Nuclear Capabilities (Woodrow Wilson Center Special Studies) Paperback – April 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-0943875712 ISBN-10: 0943875714

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Product Details

  • Series: Woodrow Wilson Center Special Studies
  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Woodrow Wilson Center Press (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0943875714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0943875712
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,053,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Reiss worked for the National Security Council on nonproliferation issues and thus brings a wealth of inside information to this study. Reiss examines nine countries that have voluntarily constrained, frozen, or eliminated their nuclear weapons programs. These counties are South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Belorus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, India, Pakistan, and North Korea... Reiss has added an important contribution to the research of nuclear nonproliferation and shown us that occasionally deproliferation is a viable policy option.

(Kevin J. Lasher Presidential Studies Quarterly)

Drawing on hundreds of interviews with officials in several nations and previously classified information, Mr. Reiss explains why nine countries—South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, India, Pakistan, and North Korea—have either capped, curtailed, or rolled back their nuclear weapons programs.

(Lawrence J. Korb New York Times)

Michael Reiss's work is an excellent, detailed and well-documented story of why some states... have subsequently abandoned their nuclear ambitions.

(NOD and Conversion)

A thought-provoking work—one that offers some useful balm to the fevered discourse over nuclear proliferation... A valuable and well-written reminder that in fighting the world's fight we cannot ignore our occasional clear and even partial successes.

(R. James Woolsey, Director of Central Intelligence, 1992-1995)

At a time when nuclear proliferation is becoming an increasingly ominous threat to global stability, Mitchell Reiss's book provides the much-needed perspective. Thoroughly researched, systematic and probing in analysis, and significant in its conclusions.

(Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser, 1977-1981)

Judiciously lays out the wins and draws of recent nonproliferation efforts, drawing our attention to the good policies and good fortune that can play a role in this struggle.

(S.S. Hecker, Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Matching a critical eye with meticulous research, Reiss slices through diplomatic smokescreens and uncovers a wealth of new information about nuclear programs in nine countries.

(Leslie H. Gelb, President, Council on Foreign Relations.)

About the Author

Mitchell Reiss is a Guest Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a consultant to the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

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Format: Paperback
Mitchell Reiss has written a book on why states give up or pursue nuclear weapons. Rather than focus on international factors such as pressure by great powers like the United States, The Soviet Union, and China. Reiss tends to put more focus on internal (domestic) factors such as changes in leadership, civil-military relations, and politicians needs to get something from the great powers to increase their position domestically. Reiss has written a very accessible book, one doesn't need a doctorate in political science or nuclear physics to understand it. My only concern is that the 1995 publication date has rendered the sections on nuclear weapons in South Asia (India and Pakistan) and North Korea dated. Still, a useful starting point for newbies to nuclear weapons.
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