CHANGE, HOPE AND THE BOMB by David E. Lilienthal


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Characteristically, David Lilienthal has given his book a title which places the bomb last instead of first. For the thesis central to his argument, brought into focus in his last chapter, is that hope lies in change- and that change is implicit in the nature of man, and that the bomb is an inanimate object unless implemented by man. He feels today a moderating in the climate of emotion; Soviet Russia is composed of people who are on the verge of prosperity- and would not endanger that. He deplores the concentration of thinking and planning of government and the scientists and diplomats towards ONE SOLUTION and that concerned with nuclear power. And he proceeds to examine our fundamental beliefs as people, to separate myth from reality. Against a brief summary of the history (in which he played a major part) of the bomb and the resultant arms races in nuclear power, he poses questions -- with his answers- relating to what he sees as fallacies:- the question of disarmament (impossible while Red China looms); the position of the scientists as all-knowing (this has created severe tensions among those who-accept a dual role involving the conquest of human ills); the creation of a Scientific Establishment (a threat to the vitality and independence of science); the University contractual program (with impairment of real functions and imbalance); pursuit of the Peaceful Atom (this perhaps the most challenging and disturbing section, revealing the impracticability, the failure to recognize dangers, the limitations); the anachronisms -- costly and useless today (A.E.F. etc.). Finally he movingly presents his plea for hope in life-giving, imagination-stirring waves of change, unpredictable and widely diverse as it is -- give change a chance! Extraordinarily readable, a sane approach from a practical idealist.

Publisher: Princeton Univ. Press