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Headlong Rush to Mutual Assured Destruction
on 5 January 2013
Richard Rhodes' second book is quite different to the first, and to a large extent overlaps it. The first book mentioned espionage from the Manhattan Project to the Soviet Union, but only really in passing. Dark Sun goes into detail, telling me far more than I had ever previously known about the actions of Fuchs and the Rosenbergs, among others. The book gets into its stride with the development of the hydrogen bomb, which is explained clearly and succinctly. It becomes really frightening, however, when it tells of the events of Cuba in 1962. To read of how LeMay and other American hawks wanted to unleash nuclear warfare on the Soviet Union chills the blood. The accounts of how coldly they were prepared to accept the loss of millions of American lives to achieve 'victory' is alarming. Of course, we now know that Kennedy was a wiser man, and disaster was avoided, but much of the book is still relevant today.
It is a harder read than 'the Making of the Atomic Bomb' with all the espionage and politics, but just as rewarding and perhaps even more enlightening.