On Thermonuclear War (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Transaction Publishers, Dec 31, 2011 - Political Science - 668 pages
9 Reviews

On Thermonuclear War was controversial when originally published and remains so today. It is iconoclastic, crosses disciplinary boundaries, and finally it is calm and compellingly reasonable. The book was widely read on both sides of the Iron Curtain and the result was serious revision in both Western and Soviet strategy and doctrine. As a result, both sides were better able to avoid disaster during the Cold War.

The strategic concepts still apply: defense, local animosities, and the usual balance-of-power issues are still very much with us. Kahn's stated purpose in writing this book was simply: "avoiding disaster and buying time, without specifying the use of this time." By the late 1950s, with both sides H-bomb-armed, reason and time were in short supply. Kahn, a military analyst at Rand since 1948, understood that a defense based only on thermonuclear arnaments was inconceivable, morally questionable, and not credible.

The book was the first to make sense of nuclear weapons. Originally created from a series of lectures, it provides insight into how policymakers consider such issues. One may agree with Kahn or disagree with him on specific issues, but he clearly defined the terrain of the argument. He also looks at other weapons of mass destruction such as biological and chemical, and the history of their use. The Cold War is over, but the nuclear genie is out of the bottle, and the lessons and principles developed in On Thermonuclear War apply as much to today's China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea as they did to the Soviets.

  

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Review: On Thermonuclear War

User Review  - Andy Kramer - Goodreads

Although the book is badly outdated technologically, these arguments are still very relevant. Reading the arguments that the author meticulously explores and the way in which he proves his hypotheses ... Read full review

Review: On Thermonuclear War

User Review  - ジェイムズ・n. パウエル - Goodreads

My dad worked with Herman Kahn in a group that came to be known as "the megadeath intellectuals." I have heard that Kahn was reputed to have had the highest IQ ever measured. These men were the ... Read full review

Contents

I
3
II
40
III
96
IV
119
V
190
VI
256
VII
311
VIII
350
XI
523
XII
551
XIII
578
XIV
579
XV
597
XVI
613
XVII
626
XVIII
641

IX
417
X
453

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Page 3 - ... petroleum products needed in and available from the friendly foreign nations. These estimates will include the type of facilities needed and available for the production, processing, storage and distribution of petroleum and petroleum products. Evaluate this information in light of criteria furnished by the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, the Department of Defense, and other interested agencies and develop supply and demand forecasts pertaining to petroleum, petroleum products, and...

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About the author (2011)

Herman Kahn (1922-1983) was a renowned political scientist, economist, historian geo-strategist, and considered by many to be the founder of futurology as a serious field of study. Associated for many years with the RAND Corporation, he was the founding director of the first independent “think tank,” the Hudson Institute. Among his many books are Thinking About the Unthinkable, The Year 2000, The Next 200 Years, The Coming Boom, The Resourceful Earth, and On Thermonuclear War.

Evan Jones is Herman Kahn's nephew. He is an historical analyst and game designer specializing in strategic simulations. He worked at the Hudson Institute in the mid-70s, primarily doing research used in The Next 200 Years.

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