Customer Reviews


8 Reviews
5 star:
 (4)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New perspectives, good on science but...
Joseph M. Siracusa appears to be of American extraction but lives and works in Australia as a Professor of International Studies at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. The evidence of his origins can be found in the opening passage of his book when he describes his own recollection of the feeble practices instituted by the US Government in the 1950s to counter the...
Published on 13 Jun. 2009 by John Dynan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Best is COMMAND AND CONTROL-Eric Schlosser
Too short to be useful- nothing here that we don't already know!.
Best is COMMAND AND CONTROL-Eric Schlosser.
Published 6 months ago by richard longman


Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New perspectives, good on science but..., 13 Jun. 2009
By 
John Dynan (Highett, Vic Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Joseph M. Siracusa appears to be of American extraction but lives and works in Australia as a Professor of International Studies at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. The evidence of his origins can be found in the opening passage of his book when he describes his own recollection of the feeble practices instituted by the US Government in the 1950s to counter the threat of nuclear blasts against schoolchildren. The truth is, as he says, "America's schoolchildren would never have known what hit them".

The book is part of Oxford University Press's marvellous series of Very Short Introductions and while I had initial reservations about the historical elements of the book, Siracusa eventually won me over. The science of nuclear weapons is not well understood by the vast majority of people and Siracusa does attempt to explain it in layperson's terms. Having read Richard Rhodes' seminal work, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, I was reasonably well aware of the mechanics of the system but also very cognizant of the historical aspects, which are glossed over a bit too carelessly in this one, even for such a short book.

Once the basics are out of the way, the post WWII global scene is dealt with and Siracusa moves quite well between the various policies adopted by countries in a changing world where the balance of power shifted quite rapidly from US monopoly to a policy of containment as the Soviet Union developed their own weapons. Various developments are well discussed, as the development of the hydrogen bomb and missile technology evolved into Mutual Assured Destruction: MAD.

His explanations of the Reagan era Strategic Defense Initiative leads well into his perspectives on the end of the Cold War era and where it left us. There is an interesting discussion towards the end on deterrence policy and the role of missile defences in shaping policy. With the accession of G.W.Bush to the US Presidency, many SDI programs were re-invigorated and Siracusa explains the philosophical problems with recruiting friendly nations to support the program. He finishes with a short analysis of the possibilities of a terrorist bomb and how such a problem might occur.

This book did not win me over at first and it took a bit of effort to get into it. However the author kept the pace going quite well and with ample information available to him, it would have been something of a challenge to sift through it all. The book shows some signs of being put together in something of a hurry: Los Alamos is in New Mexico, not Mexico (p.17) and the only Rumsfeld I know of is Donald, not David (p.100).

The best part of the book for me would be the objectivity of the analysis, particularly when it came to comparing the various policies of the superpowers. That included some coverage of US decisions, previously unknown to me, which ultimately proved either futile or questionable. Not quite from the top drawer but definitely worth a look.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to the nuclear weapons policy, 2 Jun. 2011
By 
Dr. Bojan Tunguz (Indiana, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Nuclear weapons are the most powerful and destructive weapons ever created. The combined power of all nuclear weapons currently in existence has the potential to destroy the World many times over. That fact has permanently changed the perception of warfare and created a whole new set of military and diplomatic concerns. This very short introduction explores these issues in detail, or at least with as much of a detail as the format allows. The book starts with a very brief explanation of how the nuclear energy works, and the realization in the late 1930s that it could be used for weapons. It follows with a condensed story of the Manhattan Project and the first nuclear explosions. The end of World War II, as the book argues, has only been a beginning of the new power relations based on the new reality that came with the gradual proliferation of the nuclear weapons around the world. The bulk of the book deals with the diplomatic and strategic policies that have marked the balance of powers during the Cold War. Even though the number of countries that acquired nuclear weapons never went beyond a single digit, there is a constant threat that many more regimes around the world would be all too willing to join the nuclear club. This had become an especially intractable problem upon the end of the Cold War. Instead of gradual disarmament, all of the nuclear powers have decided to cling to their arsenals. Even though deterrence might have been a major factor in the establishment and maintenance of peace throughout the twentieth century, the raise of non-state actors and their increasing predilection for the use of all sorts of weapons of mass destruction poses new and much more challenging threats for the world peace. All of these considerations are explored in this book, presented at a very accessible and relevant level.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another worrying book., 12 Dec. 2013
By 
S. C. Liston "scott" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Scholarly but easy to read. A blend of history, technology and statistics. There is plenty of little seen or discussed material in here. Makes it so clear that the insanity is not yet over.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and informative, 30 Jan. 2013
By 
Philip G Jones (Isleworth, Middlesex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
I used this book as a basis for a lecture I was giving. I found it absorbing and interesting, and just the right amount of detail for my purpose.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Best is COMMAND AND CONTROL-Eric Schlosser, 14 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Too short to be useful- nothing here that we don't already know!.
Best is COMMAND AND CONTROL-Eric Schlosser.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 Sept. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Concise, to the point and everything needed for the lay reader to understand.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Short Introduction NUCLEAR WEAPONS, 27 Feb. 2009
By 
Fergal Mcgovern (Reading Berkshire UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
This is a unbelivable good book for the price, well written and very informative a excellent inroduction to the poltics, policy and technology.
I would highly recomend this book to any one wanting to know more about nuclear weapons.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction, 26 Nov. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) (Paperback)
Having bought a number of these VSIs, it's a shame that this review will not automatically read-across to all of the range. If you want to swot-up on a specific subject, need to read-in prior to an academic course or you are just interested in the subject - these VSIs are an extremely useful way to absorb the pertinent points quickly. The only downside, as with all academic work I guess, is the need to be aware that they are invariably written with one bias or another - hence the need to use these as an introduction to subsequent research.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) by Joseph M. Siracusa (Paperback - 20 Mar. 2008)
Used & New from: £3.71
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews