NUCLEAR STAKES: Race to the Finish by Dervla Murphy

NUCLEAR STAKES: Race to the Finish

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An anti-nuke travel writer's tour of ""nukedom""--personable and moderately informed but a popgun in the year of Jonathan Schell's The Fate of the Earth, Daniel Ford's Three Mile Island, and others. Actually going about from site to site (by Greyhound bus on the Pennsylvania Turnpike; by cab along the wild Scottish coast), talking to chance contacts as well as the resident experts, arguing doughtily with pronukes, Murphy does touch upon diverse aspects of the complex nuclear situation: nuclear power, waste disposal, nuclear sabotage, Three Mile Island, nuclear proliferation, and so on. There is nothing novel in her arguments, however, and some of her points misfire. In discussing the problem of nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis Russia, she writes: ""though appeasement may have been all wrong in the '30s, it could lead to the lesser of two disasters in the '80s."" Why assume that ""appeasement,"" contrary to past experience, will reduce the threat of war? Repeating Huxley's prophecy that successful atomic energy will give rise to totalitarian government, she says that it ""is now on the way to being fulfilled."" How: on the basis of a few accounts of governmental spying on anti-nukes? The problems she cites are well recognized. Others, besides discussing them more authoritatively, have also explored solutions.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1982
Publisher: Ticknor & Fields/Houghton Mifflin