THE LANGUAGE OF NUCLEAR WAR: An Intelligent Citizen Dictionary by

THE LANGUAGE OF NUCLEAR WAR: An Intelligent Citizen Dictionary

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A curious collection of definitions of nuclear terminology--nothing more, nothing less. The three authors, all students at Dartmouth, drudged their way through the nuclear literature of the postwar world to weed out any term, concept, A-test, or movie that had any significance at all to the nuclear debate. Semler, Benjamin, and Gross, to their credit, have compiled this dictionary in a jargon-free and unbiased manner. Even politically explosive concepts, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative, are defined in a totally neutral manner: "". . .the U.S. research program to determine whether a defensive shield can be built to destroy attacking nuclear warheads. . ."" The dictionary's strong point is its ability to simplify potentially complicated concepts. For instance: ""Height of Burst: refers to the vertical distance between the target and the point at which a nuclear weapon is exploded."" Or: ""Threat Azimuth: a US military term that describes an enemy rocket launch that could be a nuclear attack against the US. . ."" Despite its neutrality, the accumulation of definitions from A to Z for over three hundred pages has the combined effect of a time-bomb ticking away in the reader's psyche. All in all, a worthy guide to nuclear understanding.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1986
Publisher: Harper & Row