Tag Archives: Nagasaki

Fred Kaplan unwinds the secret (and scary) history of nuclear war in “The Bomb”

Nuclear war is scary stuff.
And The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War (Simon & Schuster, $30) is even scarier. And we mean that only in the most enlightening way.
From Fred Kaplan, author of the classic The Wizards of Armageddon and Pulitzer Prize finalist, comes the definitive history of American policy on nuclear war—and Presidents’ actions in nuclear crises—from Truman to Trump.  Kaplan, hailed by The New York Times as “a rare combination of defense intellectual and pugnacious reporter,” takes us into the White House Situation Room, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s “Tank” in the Pentagon and the vast chambers of Strategic Command to bring us the untold stories—based on exclusive interviews and previously classified documents—of how America’s presidents and generals have thought about, threatened, broached and just barely avoided nuclear war from the dawn of the atomic age until today.book cover

Kaplan’s historical research and deep reporting will stand as the permanent record of politics, and Kirkus Reviews agrees, calling The Bomb a “detailed, incisive picture of how U.S. presidents have thought about their most troubling responsibility: pushing ‘the button’ that could end civilization . . . a well-written, exhaustively researched history of American leaders’ efforts to manage their nuclear arsenal. . .  a comprehensive review of American nuclear policy from the Truman administration to the present.”
Discussing theories that have dominated nightmare scenarios from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Kaplan presents the unthinkable in terms of mass destruction and demonstrates how the nuclear war reality will not go away, regardless of the dire consequences.
Be afraid.