Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda

Paperback | February 15, 2012

byJohn Mueller

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Ever since the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the prospect of nuclear annihilation has haunted the modern world. But as John Mueller reveals in this eye-opening, compellingly argued, and very reassuring book, our obsession with nuclear weapons is unsupported by history, scientificfact, or logic. Examining the entire atomic era, Mueller boldly contends that nuclear weapons have had little impact on history. Although they have inspired overwrought policies and distorted spending priorities, for the most part they have proved to be militarily useless, and a key reason so few countries havetaken them up is that they are a spectacular waste of money and scientific talent. Equally important, Atomic Obsession reveals why anxieties about terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons are essentially baseless: a host of practical and organizational difficulties make their likelihood of successalmost vanishingly small.Mueller, one of America's most distinguished yet provocative international relations scholars, goes even further, maintaining that our efforts to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons have produced more suffering and violence than the bombs themselves, and that proliferation of the weapons, whilenot necessarily desirable, is unlikely to be a major danger or to accelerate.

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Ever since the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, the prospect of nuclear annihilation has haunted the modern world. But as John Mueller reveals in this eye-opening, compellingly argued, and very reassuring book, our obsession with nuclear weapons is unsupported by history, scientificfact, or logic. Examining the entire atomic era...

John Mueller is the Woody Hayes Chair of National Security Studies and Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. He is the author of Overblown and The Remnants of War, winner of the Joseph P. Lepgold Prize for the best book on international relations in 2004, awarded by Georgetown University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.79 inPublished:February 15, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199837090

ISBN - 13:9780199837090

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I. The Impact of Nuclear Weapons1. Effects2. Overstatng the Effects3. Deterring World War III: Essential Irrelevance4. Influence on History5. Influence on Rhetoric, Theorizing, and BudgetsPart II. The Spread of Nuclear Weapons6. Arms Races: Positive and Negative7. Proliferation: Slow and Substantially Inconsequential8. The Modest Appeal and Value of Nuclear Weapons9. Controlling Proliferation10. Assessing the Costs of the Proliferation Fixation11. Reconsidering Proliferation PolicyPart III. The Atomic Terrorist?12. Task13. Likelihood14. Progress and Interest15. Capacity

Editorial Reviews

"Mueller performs an important service in puncturing some of the inflated rhetoric about nuclear weapons.... An unusual and fruitful perspective on nuclear history." --Science Magazine