Each chapter of the How the End Beginsdeconstructs the dangers we face. Rosenbaum begins by showing all the ways the post-Cold War order that tried to impose a set of rules of averting a nuclear mistake has fallen apart.
In chapter 2, he describes the journey of one Bruce Blair, once a missile launcher, whose experience inside the nuclear establishment left him alarmed about its vulnerabilities.
Chapter 3 looks at nuclear war from the Russian side, using the architect of that nation's early warning system as a focus.
Chapter 4 looks at how the Bush Administration helped pushed the world closer to a nuclear conflict by rewriting the rules of deterrence.
Chapter 5 describes all the ways the international incidents we have seen - Georgia, the Israeli raid on Syria, the Iranian moves - are evidence that some governments have shown a willingness to move closer to the brink of a conflict involving nuclear weapons.
The rest of the book looks at the broader nuclear issues facing the world in the 21st century: What is deterrence? Who can claim to have it? How many nuclear weapons can we live with? Is zero really possible? In other words: Can we undream the nightmare?
Ron Rosenbaum is the bestselling author of Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars and has written or edited sixother books. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper’s, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. He writes a columnfor Slate and lives in New York City.
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