THE NUCLEAR SURVIVAL HANDBOOK: Living Through and After a Nuclear Attack by Barry Popkess

THE NUCLEAR SURVIVAL HANDBOOK: Living Through and After a Nuclear Attack

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The one thing--the only thing--this chilling manual makes clear is that surviving nuclear attack will take a lot more than a single guide could offer. Popkess fails in three regards: first, he is writing for his fellow-Britons, and despite adaptations some of the premises don't apply here; second, since no one really knows what happens after a nuclear attack, the problems and possibilities are largely conjecture; third, the range of topics is so wide that treatment in one guide is necessarily superficial. Eight areas are covered: the nuclear explosion itself (how to survive the heat, blast, and radiation--where to hide, what to wear); chemical warfare (""the breath should be held as long as possible, while a gas mask is put on""; ""perspiration should be avoided""); shelters (keep it inconspicuous, to avoid intruders); vermin (what to do about the insects and rodents who will ""come out to . . . share the sudden bonanza""); sustenance (water and food--plus some sketchy advice on edible plants); wounds and malnutrition (unhelpful, unelaborated quotes from Krupp--for tetanus, ""assisted respiration is required in conjunction with curaization""); and, worst, ""The Social Survivor."" Here, Popkess discusses new social groups, life in devastated areas, contingency plans, and what he sees as ethics. The bottom line: ""we are concerned here with being among the survivors rather than the good guys."" (Better to be a survivor--he began by thinking--than wind up in ""a communal grave where we don't know who on earth we are lying next to."") Even those who can stomach this viewpoint will be more confused than aided by the material provided.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1982
Publisher: Macmillan