UNLESS PEACE COMES: A Scientific Forecast of New Weapons by Nigel Ed. Calder

UNLESS PEACE COMES: A Scientific Forecast of New Weapons

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fourteen short essays by sixteen distinguished scientists from six countries, speculating on weapons systems and possible types of warfare in the 1980's. Some project the destructive means already at hand nuclear explosives, air and spacecraft, naval weapons and missiles, chemical and microbiological weapons. Others describe future geophysical warfare- ""How To Wreck the Environment"" by, e.g., puncturing the ozone layer above the earth--and the use of robot soldiers against civilian populations. The authors write with uniform clarity and judiciousness; except for General Beaufre (who advises more subtle anti-guerrilla tactics) and Vladimir Dedijer (who explains why he thinks guerrillas are indestructible despite scientific advances) they are all quietly horrified by the prospects. Many of the scariest possibilities are already familiar--nerve gases, atomic weapons, psychic poisons: new ones include the probability that computers will be all-important, making every incident a crisis because their characteristic strategy will be the pre-emptive strike, according to Wheeler. More general issues of nationalism, allocation of resources, and ""dehumanization"" as targets get further and further away, are also raised. The cumulative effect may well drive the reader to agree with Felizon and Margat that ""We must either eliminate science or war. We cannot have both.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1968
Publisher: Viking