The Bomb, Fred Kaplan
Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War
From the author of the classic 'The Wizards of Armageddon' comes the definitive history of American policy on nuclear war and our presidents' actions in nuclear crises—from Truman to Trump.
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Hardcover with dust jacket
First edition, january 2020
Pulitzer Prize—winning journalist Fred Kaplan 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 in Omaha to bring us the untold stories—based on exclusive interviews and previously classified documents—of how American presidents and generals have thought about, threatened, broached, and, in some cases, just barely avoided nuclear war, from the dawn of the atomic age until now.
The Bomb reveals dramatic details about John F. Kennedy and his crises over Cuba and Berlin, Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, Richard Nixon's series of risky nuclear gambits, Jimmy Carter's losing battles to control the nuclear arms race, Ronald Reagan's eccentric ventures that brought us closer to war and to peace than any time in the Cold War, how Bill Clinton and George W. Bush tangled with the threat of North Korea, and, finally, entirely new stories on how Barack Obama and Donald Trump dealt with the nuclear weapons in their midst.
Kaplan also reveals the thinking and political maneuverings of the generals who have drawn up the plans for fighting—and, in their minds, winning—a nuclear war. And he tells how a small group of civilians inside the Pentagon, under Reagan and George H.W. Bush, peeled back the curtain of the nuclear war plan, exposed the weird logic of its overkill, and slashed the size of the nuclear arsenal more deeply than any formal arms control treaty.
Throughout, the protagonist of this saga is the Bomb itself—the dilemmas it poses: the security it delicately provides and existentially threatens. It is a story driven by politics, personalities, and bureau- cratic clashes, but also by a logic which, once its premises are accepted, hurls us all into a bizarre rabbit hole of danger. Understanding the nuclear era—the era of our lifetime—means understanding the rabbit hole: who dug it, how we got stuck inside, and how some presidents, face-to-face with the abyss, found a way out.
Fred Kaplan is the national security columnist for Slate and the author offive other books, including 'Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War', 'The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War' (which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist), and 'The Wizards of Armageddon'. He has a PhD from MIT. Kaplan lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Brooke Gladstone.
The Bomb, Fred Kaplan, like new, condition: like new, but with a handwritten name on one of the first pages
Simon & Schuster, january 2020, first edition, hardcover with dust jacket, 373 pages
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