Learn more Download now Shop now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 August 2014
The authors - a group of concerned scientists - took as their primary aim to educate the general public about the likely consequences of a nuclear attack on London (or nuclear war more widely) and to dispel some very problematic 'myths' that were being propagated at the time. And the concise and very aptly balanced book manages to pack lots of then current research into something a layperson could easily understand - with all the likely consequences possibly shocking the contemporary readership to the core.

British government - possibly for reasons of avoiding mass hysteria - tended to downplay the consequences of a nuclear attack somewhat, or put differently, painted a much brighter picture of possible survival and aftermath than was actually realistic. The authors - well versed in the subject matter quote a raft of research from publicly available American sources on nuclear testing (all producing much bleaker results), to internal British government memos (again with completely different messages than the material produced for public consumption).

The readers get to understand various aspects, from how nuclear weapons work, to the likely use under differing scenarios, to the direct and indirect consequences of a nuclear war. The ghastly consequences and the meagre survival chances from even a limited attack on the UK - as simulated in the 'Square Leg' simulation (where only a fraction of the warheads actually destined for the UK would be used) - are brought across perhaps even more vividly due to the authors' neutral, scientific style (a more alarmist style could probably not accomplish a similar effect).

The authors - in addition to describing all the consequences - also cover briefly the likely country organization post nuclear war. If you felt that sci-fi authors from the early post WW2 era had a dystopian outlook (for instance in The Day of the Triffids (Penguin Modern Classics)), the likely reality - as described in the book - is probably far worse. A nuclear war would signal an immediate return to a fairly ruthless, brutal military dictatorship overnight (and not because of some conspiracy theory reasons - just due to the sheer necessity for making decisions that no civilian government has been forced to make even in times of war so far, and the better survivability of the military overall), with little hope to an ordered return to democracy as we know it for decades or centuries thereafter. The few survivors would find themselves in a world, where the civic institutions they were used to practically disappear and disintegrate overnight, with no real chances of them being rebuilt in the foreseeable future.

Concepts such as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and the associated deterrence are critically examined, too - with huge doubts expressed in the - for the period - quite sophisticated but potentially very 'buggy' computer controlled launch mechanisms; the authors concerned opinion being that a full scale nuclear holocaust could result simply out of a mistake or computer / programming error.

The only feasible solution is seen in nuclear disarmament and this is the section of the book least well developed. But if the authors' aim (at least the stated one) was to jolt the public from complacency and a sense of false security was achieved - and the book definitely has the potential for it (not sure how widespread the readership was at the time) - than this is a small criticism of an otherwise excellent work.

The spectre of a nuclear war may be somewhat more remote at the moment than in the period of the Cold War and as a result the book somewhat less topical. Irrespective, I find it very important for future generations to understand the genie of nuclear conflict that could still easily be summoned out of the bottle and all the horrendous consequences, before potentially rash decisions are even contemplated - therefore this remains a very important, if increasingly hard to get hold of, book.
22 Comments| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 October 2016
This short book explains the likely aftermath of a nuclear strike on London, as well as briefly exploring the effects of a nuclear war on the UK more widely. A wealth of sources are referenced and engaged with, and this book offers an empirical analysis on what the nuclear arms race - during the latter stages of the Cold War - really meant.

Aspects of the book are now somewhat dated, as it takes the early 1980's as its focus. Nonetheless, the consequences of detonating numerous megaton bombs on Britain haven't changed ... This would be a nuclear apocalypse.

This is a fascinating read. My only criticism is that the book is very short, and that I'd have preferred to have read a lengthier study. Nonetheless, I do recommend this item.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 16 October 2017
Based on an attack hitting high priority targets it provides some clearly explained realistic consequences of nuclear war. I read it in the 80s it gave me a good foundation for surviving a limited nuclear attack. There is a list of the weapons that were available to NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the 1980s. Due to the nonproliferation treaties at least there is a fraction of the arsenals remaining and the weapons haven't changed that much but it is clear that an all out attack would leave little of the UK untouched. Very informative appendices but dose rates are in Rads rather than Grays and Siverts. Excellent accessible read.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 19 September 2014
11 Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 30 November 2017
Written for the 80's but still very interesting read.shows how out of touch we were then , we have nothing at all now!
Some intetesting facts
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 12 December 2013
Probably the most worrying book I've read in years. Plain, uncluttered style with hard hitting facts. You really will wonder how we ever came to live through the insanity, and is this stuff still going on. This book should leave you unsettled beyond belief.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 16 January 2013
Great book on what would really happen to London in a nuclear attack.
Out of print, these copies are becoming harder to find.
Good detail, and overview though some of the then current science is now perhaps....debate able.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)