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India's Nuclear Bomb: The Impact on Global Proliferation Updated Edition with a New Afterword Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 610 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Updated Edition with a New Afterword edition (November 5, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520232100
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520232105
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nobody expected India--the country that produced pacifist leader Mahatma Gandhi--to go nuclear so soon or so suddenly. But that's what it did in May 1998, detonating five nuclear weapons, to the world's astonishment. George Perkovich offers a comprehensive survey of how India got the bomb, starting with early technical efforts dating back 50 years and concluding with a full treatment of exactly what India did in the Rajasthan desert and why. He challenges the conventional wisdom holding that countries pursue nuclear power mainly for security reasons. Perkovich says the motives, at least in India's case (and, he believes, in the case of other developing countries), were much more complex. An overwhelming desire for global recognition and national pride trumped everything else. He suggests the United States might have done more to head off recent events had the nation not lacked a coherent policy toward South Asia thanks to cold-war politics. India's rivalry with Pakistan didn't help, either; it's extremely difficult to be on very good terms with both nations at once. The footnotes are extensive and the details sometimes can seem overwhelming, but the book's topic may be one of the most important issues of the 21st century. In short, George Perkovich and India's Nuclear Bomb are to India what Richard Rhodes and The Making of the Atomic Bomb are to the United States. --John J. Miller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Perkovich (W. Alton Jones Foundation) painstakingly describes the evolution of India's nuclear arsenal from 1947 to 1998. The stockpile resulted not from military need but rather from the efforts of India's scientific community and an extremely small number of politicians. Opposition groups, including several prime ministers, lambasted the diversion of funds from education, health, sanitation, and welfare programs to building bombs. Perkovich interweaves the complex relationships among India, the United States, Pakistan, and China regarding nuclear bombs, pointing out that none remained steadfast to principles. The work concludes with sets of principles that are then applied to other nuclear programs. Essential for any library concerned with nuclear issues.ADonald Johnson, Univ. of Minnesota Lib., Minneapolis
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ramsundar Lakshminarayanan on April 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is easily one of the best books I have read about my own country. Very informative.
Note to editorial Reviewers: India entered the nuclear club in May 1974 and not in May 1998 as suggested by some of your reviews.
Some highlights of the book.
* The term nuclear "haves" and "have-nots" was coined by Homi Bhabha initially and used by others and till date has been central to putting forth our country's opposition to NPT and CTBT.
* University of Chicago's late Prof. Chandrasekhar's refusal to head the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) after the death of patriot Dr. Homi Bhabha.
* One of my disappointment is the author's avoidance in the discussion of the cause of the death of Dr. Homi Bhabha, even though such an incident is beyond the scope of this book. Since Bhabha provided the impetus and leadership during the nuclear program's infancy, I expected the author to throw some light on this issue.
* Vikram Sarabhai's hatred for Nuclear tests is news, especially since he was heading the Atomic Energy commision. As a spaceman it is surprising that he headed the organization in the first place.
* Indira Gandhi's refusal to allow more nuclear tests after 1974 stemmed from her abhorence for anything nuclear after her post-Pokhran I experiences. This is contrary to the popular belief - international pressure.
* Most sections of the book has an objective view of the Indian nuclear scenario except the last few chapters where the author seems to bend towards India signing the CTBT and the NPT. Or atleast implying that India's moral stand on nuclear issue was defeated after the May 98 tests.
* BJP (and its predecessor Jana Sangh) has been the only political party to openly campaign for Nuclear power.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By SC on April 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
George Perkovich has produced a seminal work on India's nuclear weapons program. He analyzes the political, economic, security issues that have contributed to India's decision-making regarding the bomb. George has correctly identified India as being caught in a dilemma for a long time over nuclear weapons testing. India also provides the only example of a nuclear weapons program that was openly debated in a democratic society. This debate (which ranked often very low on the priorities of successive prime ministers who correctly placed socio-economic development as a higher priority) has led to India shifting its position over time -- one from being the first proponent of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty to opposing it due to is discriminatory nature today. It describes how India's opposition to nuclear weapons in the '50s which was perceived as being moralizing in the West, has now changed to embrace weapons since the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty permanently endorsed the nuclear weapons status of the five declared nuclear powers without any comprehensive, binding time-table for destroying all nuclear weapons -- a position that India objects to as being discriminatory.
A must-read for anyone interested in nuclear weapons proliferation and arms control negotiations today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Surya on October 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is probably one of the most comprehensive, literally year by year, chronology of how India's nuclear policy was shaped. India's policy was unique in that, as pointed out by the author, it was not shaped by the Realist theory. In fact, after reading this book you realize what a complex interplay of logic, post-colonial syndrome, political factors and personalities combined to produce a nuclear program which eventually was able to master the technology and demonstrate it through nuclear tests. Highly recommend this book to all people interested in the history of India's nuclear policy.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
George Perkovich has done his homework on this one. A good book which is historicaly accurate, without the usual pomp.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1999
Format: Hardcover
George has done excellent research in his book and his reasons are logical and not stereotypical.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sulabh Kumar Dhanuka on September 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As an Indian immensely proud of his country's accomplishments and having had to enter multiple debates with other non-Indians in May 1998, I gained a great amount from the book. It is immaculately researched and it seems that Perkovich has left no stone unturned. It goes into such depth and understanding of the Indian polity's psyche as previously unseen from a non-Indian author. Perkovich is not merely narrating a set of events which led to the testing but defending a theory that goes against current understandings of international relations and nuclear non-profileration by setting India as an example. I enjoyed every chapter of the book and hope that current policy makers in the field learn from it. A must read for every Indian interested it their country's policies and others making policy for the rest of the world.
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