A companion volume to a forthcoming PBS series by Newhouse (staff writer for the New Yorker; author of The Sporty Game, Cold Dawn: The Story of SALT, and Collision in Brussels; former assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency). Newhouse offers a significant text that takes the reader on a journey through the Nuclear Age, from its earliest days when even Churchill dismissed the possibilities of the new technology (""the fear that this new discovery has provided the Nazis with some sinister, new secret explosive. . .is clearly without foundation"") through the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, past the inception of the hydrogen bomb, the brush with nuclear destruction inherent in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and SALT negotiations, and right up through to current debates over the Strategic Defense Initiative. Newhouse finds that, in general, we have a lot to be thankful for in our and the Soviets' choice of leaders. Both countries, he writes, ""have been ruled by cautious and careful men in the nuclear era""--with the possible exception of Khrushchev, who occasionally fell victim to ""harebrained"" adventurist schemes. Despite this fortunate grace, the author deplores the forbidding nature of nuclear discussion that causes its disposition by an elite group--""brothers of the nuclear priesthood."" Along with this, a ""monkey-see, monkey-do"" mentality prevails, he believes, with America usually the innovator, Russia the emulator. A savvy and very accessible history-cum-cautionary on the nuclear era.