The Bomb

Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War

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About The Book

From the author the classic The Wizards of Armageddon and Pulitzer Prize finalist comes the definitive history of American policy on nuclear war—and Presidents’ actions in nuclear crises—from Truman to Trump.

Fred Kaplan, hailed by The New York Times as “a rare combination of defense intellectual and pugnacious reporter,” takes us into the White House Situation Room, the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s “Tank” in the Pentagon, and the vast chambers of Strategic Command to bring us the untold stories—based on exclusive interviews and previously classified documents—of how America’s presidents and generals have thought about, threatened, broached, and just barely avoided nuclear war from the dawn of the atomic age until today.

Kaplan’s historical research and deep reporting will stand as the permanent record of politics. Discussing theories that have dominated nightmare scenarios from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Kaplan presents the unthinkable in terms of mass destruction and demonstrates how the nuclear war reality will not go away, regardless of the dire consequences.

About The Author

Carol Dronsfield

Fred Kaplan is the national-security columnist for Slate and the author of five previous books, Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber WarThe Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War (a Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestseller), 1959, Daydream Believers, and The Wizards of Armageddon. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Brooke Gladstone.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 28, 2020)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982107314

Raves and Reviews

“With its stunning, new, in-the-room revelations, and with Fred Kaplan’s deep knowledge of nuclear strategy, The Bomb is the best overview yet of the world's continuing struggle to come to terms with the threat of nuclear war.”—Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Arsenals of Folly

“In The Bomb, Fred Kaplan has delivered a timely, lively, highly readable account of how Presidents from Truman to Trump have prepared for nuclear war—a history that is as deeply informed as it is utterly alarming.”—Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ghost Wars and Directorate S

“With powerful anecdotes and a wealth of historical detail, Fred Kaplan tells the story of the men and women who found themselves both appalled and entranced by the fearful, mad logic of nuclear war from the aftermath of Hiroshima to the present day. The Bomb is a frightening but necessary read."Rosa Brooks, author of How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything: Tales from the Pentagon

“Fred Kaplan is the world’s preeminent Dr. Strangelove-whisperer, and The Bomb is the smartest, most riveting, and up-to-date history of how US leaders, military and civilian, have thought the unthinkable. The chapter on Trump and nuclear weapons is nothing less than alarming.”Timothy Naftali, author of George H.W. Bush and co-author of Khrushchev’s Cold War

"The Bomb is like the Pentagon Papers for U.S. nuclear strategy. Kaplan has the insider stories of an investigative journalist, the analytic rigor of a political scientist, and the longer-term perspective of a historian. Insightful and important.” SCOTT Sagan, professor of political science at Stanford University and chairman of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ Committee on International Security Studies

"The Bomb is like the Pentagon Papers for U.S. nuclear strategy. Kaplan has the insider stories of an investigative journalist, the analytic rigor of a political scientist, and the longer-term perspective of a historian. Insightful and important.” SCOTT Sagan, professor of political science at Stanford University and chairman of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ Committee on International Security Studies

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