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on 18 November 2013
The most amazing fact about the cold war is that we survived it. There was no outbreak of major hot war - assuming we count the wars in Korea and Vietnam as minor - and no accidental detonation of a big bomb. We lucked out.

How far we lucked out is evident from Eric Schlosser's astonishing reportage in this book. He obviously put in a lot of work on the research, and it paid off. More shocking than a thriller, more gripping than any novel, and more sobering than a war history, his account on the fragility of the nuclear stalemate during the cold war confirmed my worst fears about the US military and its shaky mastery of new technology.

Wisely, Schlosser avoided fancy effects in his style. The facts are chilling enough without any embellishment. But he humanized the story masterfully. The impact of preparing for Armageddon on all the voices and thoughts recorded in the book is clear enough. A horror beyond human imagination loomed just a button, or a dropped spanner, or a misunderstood message away.

Read this book and tell your friends about it. And thank providence that we're still here to reflect on the folly of all those who got us into this mess. It's not over. It will last as long as humans can muster the skill to build a bomb. We need secure global control of all nukes.
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on 30 March 2015
Do not be put off by the cover, this is a riveting read, BUT , too disjointed for my taste otherwise I would have given it 5 stars. Technical details well explained and the human element related in a balanced way.
Highly recommended, even if the cover illustration belongs on a superheroes comic.
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on 19 January 2015
Brilliant book! For anyone who lived through the cold war, this is fascinating reading. Now you can find out what was really going on behind the scenes. The history and politics alone would make it an interesting read, but the interwoven tale of the missile silo fire makes it a real page-turner.
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on 26 August 2014
Truly frightening - I've read a first hand account of someone who was in his home 500 metres from Ground Zero in Hiroshima, this book just reinforces my view that these weapons are unnecessary (i.e. they haven't stopped the continuing wars on this planet) and exceedingly dangerous to possess.
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on 19 February 2015
A riveting account of how to mismanage nuclear weapons, the politics behind their control and the efforts of those charged with maintaining them. An informed reader will cringe, while the civil nuclear professional will wonder how these events could be allowed to happen. This is a must read.
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on 14 July 2015
Very informative and written in a very engaging manner, though might be better not to mix different events and times as much as he does. It does help when you are aware of the individuals and events referred to, but overall a very good account of potentially disastrous occurrences.
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on 27 October 2014
This book achieves something very difficult; to be factual and authoritative while having a compelling narrative. It also managed to be easily one of the most frightening books I have read. It should be mandatory reading for everyone in the military and in politics.
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on 6 March 2014
I consider this a very important book detailing the incredible unbelievable madness which our governments still adhere to. Clearly the fact that no nuclear explosions have occurred by accident can only be by divine intervention. Its really scary to be told what has happened in the past and how very close we have been to a nuclear exchange not just once. Its unbelievable to read that throughout the cold war hand held shoulder launched nuclear projectiles existed with no safety device. Ie any soldier could have fired one on his own. I really feel all politicians who have anything to do with the armed forces should be forced to read and comprehend this-if only!
This book has covered a very important subject which to my knowledge has never been done before -I personally will be rereading this book over many times. I think the author had done the world a huge gift in giving us such a record of history.
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on 15 September 2015
I really enjoyed reading this book its factual but almost reads like fiction. very detailed
and totally absorbing. It came in very handy on my recentl return flight from Geneva
including a delay of 2 hours ... its a long book. excellent.
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on 17 January 2016
It's a long slog to get through this, but I was spellbound from start to finish. Engaging writing on a subject that could have been handled as dry and unengaging or overly sensationlised ... Eric Schlosser walked a very fine line with aplomb.
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