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The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb

3.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231136983
ISBN-10: 0231136986
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Cohen's second outstanding book on Israel's nuclear project, and the veil of ambiguity that has swathed it from inception, provides a richly detailed account of its history and a provocative analysis of its future. Cohen shows how Israel's beleaguered national existence and persistent Holocaust memories led to the taboo on any acknowledgment of its nuclear weapons program, which cannot, in his view, any longer serve Israel's interests. This is a splendid work of historical research as well as a thought-provoking challenge for both current and future Israeli and American policymakers.

(Samuel Lewis, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, 1977-1985)

This important book should be read by anyone interested in understanding the changes that Israel will need to make in its nuclear program as the world reduces reliance on nuclear weapons. Cohen makes a compelling case for why it is in Israeli's interest to confirm its nuclear weapons program and participate in efforts to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons.

(Morton H. Halperin, senior advisor, Open Society Institute)

Avner Cohen has written the most informed history of Israel's secret drive to get the bomb, and now he has gone further. In The Worst-Kept Secret, he describes and explains Israel's insistence that all talk or writing about its nuclear arsenal be exorcised from public discourse. The nuclear "taboo," as Cohen depicts it, continues unabated today, undermining Israeli democracy at home and its credibility abroad.

(Seymour M. Hersh, author of The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy)

Cohen's persistent research and numerous books and articles have set the standard in the field and serve as an unrivaled source for anyone interested in Israel's biggest taboo. The Worst-Kept Secret provides a firm factual basis upon which our knowledge about Israel's nuclear program, with its richness of historic detail and personal anecdotes, rests. Moreover, it lays out a wide-ranging theoretical framework for discussing the pros and cons of Israel's amimut policy and its prolonged effect on the country's democracy and governance and its possible future revision. This book will undoubtedly serve as the new benchmark for studying and debating its topic.

(Aluf Benn, editor-at-large, Haaretz)

[Cohen's] exploration of the issues is thoughtful, measured and deep, and very much worthy of wide consideration.

(Ethan Bronner New York Times)

A brave, provocative, and very important book.

(Bruce Riedel Haaretz)

(Vanity Fair)

Review

Cohen reveals himself once again to be the reigning authority on the history of the Israeli bomb. Brilliant, compelling, and definitive

(Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (October 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231136986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231136983
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,519,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter Ramming on June 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book by Avner Cohen is as good an account of Israel's nuclear arsenal as is likely to be written for a good while, and is a must-read for anyone interested in Israel's development of nuclear weapons and in its official policy of "nuclear opacity" ("amimut" in Hebrew), by which Israel neither confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons. Cohen, who has researched Israeli nuclear issues for over 25 years, is probably more knowledgeable about this subject than any person outside the circle of state actors, scientists, and bureaucrats who have had firsthand roles in Israel's nuclear program from its inception under David Ben-Gurion to its contemporary stewards such as Ehud Barak and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Cohen has interviewed many of the principal actors (several of whom have died in the meantime) over the years, as well as pursuing as much documentary evidence as is available from Israeli or foreign sources. The problem is that Israeli authorities have been remarkably effective over the last sixty years in keeping most aspects of their nuclear weapons program secret, so that Cohen has to couch his assertions of "facts" in language that makes clear he is often speculating, however highly informed these speculations may be.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With the ongoing international effort to deal with the Iranian nuclear program, this book offers valuable insight into the behavior of one of the key players in the region, and into a hidden side of the US-Israeli relationship.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
good: lots of information i didn't know about.
bad: written more like a report than a book
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Avner Cohen has excellently researched the subject and exposes it clearly and interestingly.
The book contains various chapters and insights and is a must read for those interested in the Middle East.
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Format: Paperback
The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb
This promises to be a fascinating book but for the first time ever, I must protest a product description. Who wrote the product description for this book? Iranian Ayatollahs perhaps? The description is unacceptable and must be changed. Criticisms about Israel, its national choices and political priorities should be limited to contents of REVIEWS, where they can be safely ignored. Product description of a book should be limited to its CONTENTS, and avoid condescension towards prospective readers, as to what they should think.
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