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Danger and Survival: Choices About the Bomb in the First Fifty Years Hardcover – November 28, 1988

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Written by the controversial former special assistant for national security under presidents Kennedy and Johnson, this major work is essentially a political history of the superweapon era from the earliest atomic research to "the false hope of future safety in Reagan's dream of a space shield." Bundy sheds light on the Cuban missile crisis, emphatically pointing out that nothing like it has occurred in the ensuing quarter-century. Although there have been conspicuous moments of superpower tension since, Bundy argues that the risk of all-out nuclear warfare has lessened with each succeeding decade as "the tradition of non-use grows stronger." In his upbeat view, Washington and Moscow are learning to respect the nuclear danger and to practice, if not always preach, coexistence. Bundy also convincingly disputes several atomic myths, among them that President Truman delivered an atomic ultimatum in 1946 over the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Iran, and that Truman came close to using the bomb during the Korean War.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Bundy has been involved in the nuclear debate since 1945 in several capacitiesuniversity teacher, special assistant to two U.S. presidents during the nuclear crises in Berlin and Cuba, and president of the Ford Foundation. This political history of the nuclear age highlights the choices made by scientists and statesmen of the major powers. From the decision to develop and use the bomb against Japan, to Reagan's fanciful Star Wars defense, the analysis is revealing. A critic of Reagan, Bundy also scolds the president for selective truth telling, and maintains that in the nuclear world strategic parity, not superiority, is the key to future peace. The flow of the narrative suffers at times from Bundy's what if's; nonetheless, highly recommended. Dennis Felbel, Univ. of Manitoba Lib., Winnipeg
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 735 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (November 28, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394522788
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394522784
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,121,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
McGeorge Bundy depicts an unneccesary race to develop nuclear weapons while emphasizing the mindset of the mid-40s. Many interesting sidelights are exposed such as the first nation to deliberately choose not to pursue nuclear weapons (Canada). Bundy's history is especially important in the light of current thinking that Truman merely wanted to scare the h--l out of the Soviets. The history also stresses that the main concern (ending the Pacific war) overshadowed any thoughts of how to manage the gadget after the war. Although many ideas did come up such as sharing the technology with the world, no set policy was developed. As a result, Bundy (and others) believed much of the cold war arms race accelerated.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful By on July 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
McGeorge Bundy is that rare bird: a very well-connected person who is also very, very bright -- and a gifted writer too. An absolutely first-rate book
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