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A Path Where No Man Thought: Nuclear Winter and the End of the Arms Race [Hardcover]

Carl Sagan , Richard Turco


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Book Description

Dec 1990
The spread of nuclear weapons to unstable third world countries such as Iraq means that despite the dramatic improvement in US/Soviet relations, we are living in a time of unprecedented danger of nuclear war. In 1990, there are still enough nuclear weapons in the world to devastate every city 25 times over. In 1982, Professors Sagan and Turco made known their discovery of the concept "nuclear winter", a widespread cold and dark, resulting in agricultural collapse and world famine, that would be generated in even a "small" nuclear war. It was a landmark discovery that revealed in the starkest terms how vulnerable our civilization is to the long-term environmental effects of nuclear war. Carl Sagan, Pullitzer prize-winning science writer, and Richard Turco, tell their personal story of their findings, and how, despite the much-heralded thawing of the Cold War, there are dangerous inadequacies in US and Soviet nuclear policy and doctrine that need to be addressed.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (T); Ex-library/Wavy Pages/1st Edtn edition (Dec 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394583078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394583075
  • Product Dimensions: 24.4 x 15 x 4.3 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,789,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sagan was Dir. of the Laboratory for Planetary Studies & David Duncan Prof. of Astronomy & Space Sciences at Cornell University.He played a leading role in the Mariner, Viking & Voyage expeditions to the planets & was a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for literature. He died in 1996.

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mankind at extinction level,nuclear winter. Need much less nuclear weapons. Not much done 16 April 2011
By Thomas Erickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm a big fan of the late Carl Sagan. Most of his books are 5 stars( see my reviews). A Path Where No Man Thought by Carl Sagan and Richard Turco( top engineer/ PHD /physicist)wrote a very interesting book. Some interesting colorful artwork (some depressing...NYC hit by 2 1 megaton weapons)and vast black and white destruction photos of Hiroshima after its destruction and more.

Let me first say this book was kind of depressing as the reader learns countries have vast stockpiles of nuclear weapons hundreds of times needed as a deterrent against armed aggression. 60,000 weapons plus thousands of tactical nuclear weapons staged in Europe. The USA, the x USSR, the huge stockpile-rs. England,France, China, Israel,India, Pakistan and more countries with smaller stockpiles.

It is shown that even one of the lesser stockpiled countries could cause a mankind extinction level event if it launched all its weapons and targeted them at high soot producing targets such as petroleum refineries, petroleum stockpiles, cities and forests. The resulting soot cloud would absorb enough sunlight for a large enough drop in temperatures enough to kill crops, forests and animals including much of mankind. Its is shown how the winds would spread this black death eventually even into the southern hemisphere. This is not even including the massive stockpiles of the US and x USSR. It is shown if only 1 of the major countries launched only a few hundred weapons targeted at high soot producing targets the other country would not have to fire a shot to ensure complete worldwide Nuclear Winter.

The risk of having so many multiple warhead Merv weapons is shown...much easier to target more cities and soot producing targets.

The reader is shown the majority of the past military and political leaders knew nothing about Nuclear Winter and kept producing more and more weapons for perceived defence or to intimidate other countries to do as they say. Its shown the vast superiority amount of conventional weapons by the USSR facing Eastern Europe and why the US and Eastern Europe Stockpiled so many tactical weapons in Europe to face this perceived threat. Now (late 1980s) its shown world leaders realize they have a mankind extinction possibility if even a few percentages of their total nuclear weapons are launched due to Nuclear Winter. Different amounts of nuclear weapons deployed by different bombers, cruise missiles, different classes of submarines, tacticle weapons and weapons in hardened silos are shown.

What to do about too many weapons and how to verify by all sides the dismantling and destruction of nuclear weapons?

A fascinating book how the world got into this mess and attempts are shown how to get out of it by verified nuclear weapons destruction and dismantling. The authors show the need for it to be done ASAP before a madman launches weapons and other countries follow launching enough weapons to reach the threshold level of Nuclear Winter as a limited war would be too hard to contain and may lead to mankind's extinction.

Through the TTAPS project ,over a hundred top scientists gave world leaders data showing the need for nuclear disarmament and only have enough nuclear weapons for defence but nowhere near the threshold that could trigger Nuclear Winter if launched. Unfortunately only very limited reductions in weapons have been done by treaties and verified by the different countries involved. I pray we have the time for nuclear disarmament before it is too late. 4 stars
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