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Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons Cover

Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

By Ward Wilson

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), Hardcover, 9780547857879, 208pp.

Publication Date: January 15, 2013

An explosive rethinking of the power and purpose of nuclear weapons and a call for radical action
Nuclear weapons have always been a serious but seemingly insoluble problem: while they re obviously dangerous, they are also, apparently, necessary. This groundbreaking study shows why five central arguments promoting nuclear weapons are, in essence, myths. It is a myth:
that nuclear weapons necessarily shock and awe opponents, including Japan at the end of World War II
that nuclear deterrence is reliable in a crisis
that destruction wins wars
that the bomb has kept the peace for sixty-five years
and that we can t put the nuclear genie back in the bottle
Drawing on new information and the latest historical research, Wilson poses a fundamental challenge to the myths on which nuclear weapons policy is currently built. Using pragmatic arguments and an unemotional, clear-eyed insistence on the truth, he arrives at a surprising conclusion: nuclear weapons are enormously dangerous, but don t appear to be terribly useful. In that case, he asks, why would we want to keep them?
This book will be widely read and discussed by everyone who cares about war, peace, foreign policy, and security in the twenty-first century.

Praise For Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

"Magisterial in its sweep, research, and erudition, yet written in a direct, unstuffy style, which makes it an easy read."
— Commander Robert D. Green, Royal Navy (ret.)

Brilliant, original, and important — the best analysis yet of why nuclear weapons don’t work.”
— Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb

“A superb examination of both historical and present day issues surrounding nuclear weapons of war. No matter your background or expertise, before you say or do anything else regarding ‘nukes,’ I’d strongly recommend you read and give serious consideration to the arguments in this terrific work.”
— General B. B. Bell, U.S. Army (ret.)

“Nine nations now possess nuclear weapons and a tenth seems intent on acquiring them. These states and their governments pose an existential threat to all humanity. Ward Wilson’s brilliant deconstruction of the myths which cause states to pursue nukes and cling to their arsenals is an important step toward a saner world free of nuclear dangers.”
— Barry Blechman, Cofounder/Distinguished Fellow, The Stimson Center