Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons by Ward Wilson

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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.

About Ward Wilson

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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.
Published January 15, 2013 by Mariner Books. 205 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

Kirkus Reviews

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The fallacy begins with the bombing of Japan, where “the danger is that we have overinflated their value [of nuclear weapons] by misinterpreting that one event.” The threat of Russian invasion, not the nuclear bombing, forced Japan’s hand—“the atomic bomb swept all mistakes and misjudgments under...

Dec 13 2012 | Read Full Review of Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

The New York Times

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Decades after the cold war, nuclear weapons are an established fact of regional and global strategy.

Jan 11 2013 | Read Full Review of Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

Publishers Weekly

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In this concise analysis of commonly held beliefs about nuclear weapons, Wilson argues that, from the bombing of Hiroshima, policy has been decided based on mistaken suppositions.

Dec 24 2012 | Read Full Review of Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

City Book Review

In Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons, Ward Wilson presents a new framework in which to discuss and evaluate not only the value of nuclear weapons today, but whether we have overestimated their value and influence over the past six decades.

Feb 15 2013 | Read Full Review of Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

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