Five Myths About Nuclear Weapons

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Jan 15, 2013 - Political Science - 205 pages
“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

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 clears up such common misconceptions as . . .

• Nuclear weapons necessarily shock and awe opponents, including Japan at the end of World War II

• Nuclear deterrence is reliable in a crisis

• Destruction wins wars

• The bomb has kept the peace for sixty-five years

• 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.

“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.)

“This slim, persuasively argued, tightly written book provides much food for thought and could make some readers radically change their perceptions about nuclear weapons.” —Booklist

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AmberTheHuman - LibraryThing

Great book. Short and to the point - doesn't get bogged down with what we should be doing, or technical whatnot, or confusing war tactics. He makes points that make sense and are both disturbing and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

Wilson's five myths are all five just that, but his discussions vary in quality. The critical chapter is the one on the actual impact of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Wilson cites ... Read full review

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About the author (2013)

WARD WILSON is a senior fellow at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies. He has spoken before governments and at think tanks and universities, including Stanford, Princeton, Georgetown, the Naval War College, and the United Nations.

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