A myth-shattering exposé of America's nuclear weapons.
Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A groundbreaking account of accidents, near misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: How do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved - and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind. While the harms of global warming increasingly dominate the news, the equally dangerous yet more immediate threat of nuclear weapons has been largely forgotten.
Written with the vibrancy of a first-rate thriller, Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than 50 years. It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policy makers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can't be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust. At the heart of the book lies the struggle, amid the rolling hills and small farms of Damascus, Arkansas, to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States.
Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with people who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Command and Control takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view. Through the details of a single accident, Schlosser illustrates how an unlikely event can become unavoidable, how small risks can have terrible consequences, and how the most brilliant minds in the nation can only provide us with an illusion of control. Audacious, gripping, and unforgettable, Command and Control is a tour de force of investigative journalism, an eye-opening look at the dangers of America's nuclear age.
©2013 Eric Schlosser (P)2013 Penguin Audio
This mixes the well told detailed story of a nuclear missile accident and all the people involved with the history of nuclear weapons in the US. It opened my eyes to much more of what was going on, and what might have or might yet happen. Truly enlightening and at times terrifying.
if you have any interest in the Cold War, nuclear weapons security, safety, are either for or against their proliferation, this is an absolutely candid and is neutrally balanced book as I have found on the topic. I would note that occasionally the flashbacks to history will stretch various nuclear accident stories' recountings a bit long, but overall, this book covers everything from the minutiae to the strategic. If you have any remote interest in the politics, the science, the implications, the ethics, the statistics, the probabilities, and the future... has influenced by nuclear weapons, the Cold War, and life afterward... This book becomes a must read... I would also add that the narrator does a great job! Very often books in this format live and die by good narration, and this one is done exceedingly well.
When I bought this I was looking for something a bit more editorial. I wasn't a big fan of how narrative was used to make the point. Not that it was a bad read, it's just that for me if I wanted narrative I would have picked an actual narrative.
I remember the Damascus accident and having family from this part of Arkansas. My family drove up this very same highway every summer. Very well written and very well narrated. Love Scott Brick have several other stories narrated by him.
This was an amazing look not only at the history and statistics involving nuclear weapon accidents, but an incredible look into the human stories surrounding some of our closest calls. I highly reccomend this book.
Pretty impressive for such a long book. It would be a good book to actually sit down and read in order to get more out of it but of course, I don't have time for that.
Command and Control provides a frightening white-knuckle ride through the history of the Cold War. Interspersed between an account of the 1980 Broken Arrow incident in Damascus, Arkansas, where a Titan II missile was destroyed during a maintenance accident is a chilling account of the intense and often nonsensical fight between the military and civilian scientists over how best to keep the American public safe from our own nuclear weapons.
The Damascus Incident is told as would be a novel, and when the book jumps back into history it takes on the air of a particularly good nonfiction read. The book is a pulse-pounder and can stand alongside the best Techno-thrillers of Tom Clancy or Michael Crichton.
I can listen to this book again and again and never tire of it. Highly recommended for anyone interested in military or cold-war history.
I loved the storylines that helped deliver the information. Great read and great listen. Beautifully executed.
Yes. The narrator did not only "read" the book, but provided queues and emphasis that captured my attention and painted a much richer picture than I could have by just reading it.
It was well rehearsed. You could tell the narrator knew the subject matter, at least to the extent to correctly pronounce everything and provide the necessary emphasis.
Good voice, pleasing tone, foreknowing the story to provide the proper emphasis and appropriate tone where needed.
How close we came and how luck continues to play-out.
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