The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg
Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

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Especially for young readers, by making earlier generations’ failures clear, “The Doomsday Machine” challenges them to rise to a grand and urgent opportunity.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction

From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America's Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that--chillingly--continues to this day.

Here, for the first time, former high level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking first-hand account of America's nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization--and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration--threatens our very survival. No other insider with high level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era.

Framed as a memoir--a chronicle of madness in which Ellsberg acknowledges participating--this gripping expose reads like a thriller and offers feasible steps we can take to dismantle the existing "doomsday machine" and avoid nuclear catastrophe, returning Ellsberg to his role as whistleblower. The Doomsday Machine is thus a real-life Dr. Strangelove story and an ultimately hopeful--and powerfully important--book about not just our country, but the future of the world.

 

About Daniel Ellsberg

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Daniel Ellsberg is a former U.S. Marine commander and Rand analyst, and was one of the whiz kids recruited by Robert McNamara as a Pentagon war analyst in the Johnson administration. He is a prominent speaker and activist on behalf of antinuclear and environmental causes.
 
Published December 5, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA. 424 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, War, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Doomsday Machine
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Glenn C. Altschuler on Dec 01 2017

What was true of the Cuban missile crisis, when leaders were “as responsible, humane, and cautious as any we have seen,” Ellsberg emphasizes, is even more true today, posing “intolerable dangers to the survival of civilization.”

Read Full Review of The Doomsday Machine: Confess... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Graham Allison on Dec 28 2017

Especially for young readers, by making earlier generations’ failures clear, “The Doomsday Machine” challenges them to rise to a grand and urgent opportunity.

Read Full Review of The Doomsday Machine: Confess... | See more reviews from NY Times

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