CAGING THE NUCLEAR GENIE

AN AMERICAN CHALLENGE FOR GLOBAL SECURITY

A thoughtful series of proposals for reducing the excessive inventories of nuclear weapons still held by the US and Russia nearly a decade after the Cold War's end. Drawing on his own experiences as a senior military commander and director of the CIA during the Carter administration, Admiral Turner (Terror and Democracy, 1991) first examines the Strangelovian assumptions employed to justify the sizable stockpiles of warheads still held by the major powers: Moscow controls over 20,000, while Washington has more than 15,000 at its disposal. Although this latter total represents a substantial decline from peak of approximately 32,500 reached in 1967, the author documents the appalling extent to which these costly and dangerous arsenals are still heavily redundant in terms of deterrence. Overkill apart, he notes, bloated reserves increase the risk of proliferation and aggravate the problems posed by the ongoing deterioration of a cash-strapped Russia's military plant. Having estimated just how few nuclear weapons are needed to ensure national security (and conceding that disarmament is an unrealistic possibility any time soon), Turner makes some arresting suggestions. His centerpiece initiative encompasses three principal elements: a strategic escrow program (which, inter alia, would put all warheads in internationally supervised storage at some distance from their launchers); a no-first-strike pledge (confirmed by treaty); and incremental improvements in defense against atomic attack as well as inspection technology. He goes on to urge that elected civilian officials reassert their control over the military on nuclear matters; the author also recommends establishment of a Presidential Council for Nuclear Security and an organized effort to enlist the public's support for sizable cutbacks in America's stores of doomsday ordnance. An informed and informative contribution to a debate of vital importance to all mankind.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-8133-3328-8

Page Count: 176

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1997

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

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WHY WE'RE POLARIZED

A sharp explanation of how American politics has become so discordant.

Journalist Klein, co-founder of Vox, formerly of the Washington Post, MSNBC, and Bloomberg, reminds readers that political commentators in the 1950s and ’60s denounced Republicans and Democrats as “tweedledum and tweedledee.” With liberals and conservatives in both parties, they complained, voters lacked a true choice. The author suspects that race played a role, and he capably shows us why and how. For a century after the Civil War, former Confederate states, obsessed with keeping blacks powerless, elected a congressional bloc that “kept the Democratic party less liberal than it otherwise would’ve been, the Republican Party congressionally weaker than it otherwise would’ve been, and stopped the parties from sorting themselves around the deepest political cleavage of the age.” Following the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many white Southern Democrats became Republicans, and the parties turned consistently liberal and conservative. Given a “true choice,” Klein maintains, voters discarded ideology in favor of “identity politics.” Americans, like all humans, cherish their “tribe” and distrust outsiders. Identity was once a preoccupation of minorities, but it has recently attracted white activists and poisoned the national discourse. The author deplores the decline of mass media (network TV, daily newspapers), which could not offend a large audience, and the rise of niche media and internet sites, which tell a small audience only what they want to hear. American observers often joke about European nations that have many parties who vote in lock step. In fact, such parties cooperate to pass legislation. America is the sole system with only two parties, both of which are convinced that the other is not only incompetent (a traditional accusation), but a danger to the nation. So far, calls for drastic action to prevent the apocalypse are confined to social media, fringe activists, and the rhetoric of Trump supporters. Fortunately—according to Klein—Trump is lazy, but future presidents may be more savvy. The author does not conclude this deeply insightful, if dispiriting, analysis by proposing a solution.

A clear, useful guide through the current chaotic political landscape.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4767-0032-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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