Command and Control

Command and Control

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011
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Mother Jones
"Easily the most unsettling work of nonfiction I've ever read... the book is beyond relevant. It's critical reading in a nation with thousands of nukes still on hair-trigger alert. "

Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age:  how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them?  That question has never been resolved--and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind.  

Written with the vibrancy of a first-rate thriller, Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than fifty years.  It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policymakers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can't be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust.  At the heart of the book lies the struggle, amid the rolling hills and small farms of Damascus, Arkansas, to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States.   

Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with men who designed and routinely handled  nuclear weapons, Command and Control takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view.  Through the details of a single accident, Schlosser illustrates how an unlikely event can become unavoidable, how small risks can have terrible consequences, and how the most brilliant minds in the nation can only provide us with an illusion of control.  Audacious, gripping, and unforgettable, Command and Control is a tour de force of investigative journalism, an eye-opening look at the dangers of America's nuclear age.

New York Times Book Review
"Disquieting but riveting... fascinating... Schlosser's readers (and he deserves a great many) will be struck by how frequently the people he cites attribute the absence of accidental explosions and nuclear war to divine intervention or sheer luck rather than to human wisdom and skill. Whatever was responsible, we will clearly need many more of it in the years to come."


Kirkus (STARRED REVIEW)
"A chilling, concise history of America's precarious nuclear arsenal... vivid and unsettling."
Publisher: [United States] : Books on Tape, p2011
ISBN: 9780307702517
0307702510
Branch Call Number: UA23 .S35 2011x
Characteristics: 1 downloadable audio file.

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EricTheMailman
Mar 22, 2014

I grew up during the Cold War and there were times that I was very scared my life would end in a thermonuclear flash. According to Eric Schlosser there was more to be scared of than Geo-political tension between the super powers. There were countless accidents, mishaps, losses, crashes, fires and human errors with atomic and thermonuclear weapons that it is a wonder we are all still alive today.

The book was chilling. It scared me to my core. I found the level of paranoia of the first two decades of the Cold War to be nearly incomprehensible. How could men of power be so foolish?

The book itself followed a terrible accident that happened at one missile silo in the United States. The author explained just how dangerous the Titan II missile system was on it's own, never mind that one of the most powerful warheads sat on top of it. From the moment a technician accidentally drops a socket down the silo and damages the missile Schlosser takes us on a journey of just how that weapon was developed and the history behind the cold war as well.

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tj_is_cool
Feb 17, 2014

Well written book about the history of nuclear weapons starting from the second war world.

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