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Command and Control Audiobook

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety

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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

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  •  
    HibbityJibbit 03-10-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Educational, terrifying, heart-breaking."

    Thorough account of nuclear accident with excellent historical context. Maybe this is why we don't hear from extra-terrestrials. We have come very close to wiping out life on Earth several times during the Cold War. This book will further enlighten you as to how close we could have come to various accidents or other disastrous outcomes but for the smallest of chances. Are nuclear weapons too dangerous to possess or use? Any large scale use would devastate the environment to the extent that it largely wouldn't matter who didn't get incinerated. Radiation poisoning, loss of medical services, loss of infrastructure, crop failure, starvation, long term genetic effects - who would risk this fate? Are limited uses of nukes even possible without a retaliatory strike? If used against a non-nuclear armed opponent, what is the justification vs conventional weapons? And while I'm certainly not advocating military control of nukes (too dangerous from a democratic governance perspective, imo) this book certainly underscores the poor choices we have for this country's leadership, considering the immense power our "leaders" possess.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Foster Sacrametno, CA 12-15-13
    K. Foster Sacrametno, CA 12-15-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent Reading, Good background, but Disjointed"
    What did you like best about Command and Control? What did you like least?

    The story about the incident was excellent and well detailed. The historical background was well researched. The problem was the segway's within the story were too long and in some cases failed to add real value.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I found the stories about the near disastrous accidents very interesting.


    Have you listened to any of Scott Brick’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I found his reading to be most enjoyable.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Not in its current form.


    Any additional comments?

    The writer appears to have gotten lost in some of the Segway's and after a 30-45min departure from the story you often think:

    1. What was this storyline again?
    2. I am not sure that long a foray added value to the core story.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Ritt Chicago, IL 11-13-17
    J. Ritt Chicago, IL 11-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Extremely informative and well-worth the read."

    I've tried for six months to listen to this book, and just *cannot* get through it. I absolutely loved James McCaffrey's "Atomic Accidents", and several friends suggested "Command and Control". Try as I might - and have - I just can't get into it. I found the way it's written, jumping back and forth in time, then back and forth among various groups even in the same incident to be rather off-putting.

    That said, it's a great book that has a lot of really interesting stories and information. As with "Atomic Accidents", you'll be left marvelling that we haven't blown ourselves up yet - and wondering when it'll happen. If you're interested in U.S. nuclear history, I'd recommend getting it.

    Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Don Ware 11-06-17
    Don Ware 11-06-17 Member Since 2015
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    "Review"

    Author is all of the place, material is disjointed, disorganized and doesn’t follow one story to an end before starting the next....don’t bother with this one

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stuart 10-23-17
    Stuart 10-23-17
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    "excellent story, excellently performed"

    This was an extremely informative book read perfectly. It blew me way. I have heard lots of biographies, and this beautifully written history of the the Cold War spans 60+ years. It was a nice break to leave politics and hear about our struggle and fortunate survival through the Cold War.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 09-28-17
    Richard 09-28-17 Member Since 2017
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    "A very detailed book about nuclear weapons"

    The book focuses on nuclear weapons during the Cold War era, particularly focusing on nuclear safety.
    The book is very detailed and well researched (my only issue with the book: I sometimes felt that it is too detailed, especially concerning the biography of people mentioned in it, but it's no big deal).
    As I am completely new to the subject, I learned a great deal from this book, some of it very worrying, all of it fascinating.
    I highly recommend the book and the audio version.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex 09-25-17
    Alex 09-25-17 Member Since 2009
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    "Absolutely NOT worth the credit"
    Any additional comments?

    I could NOT finish the audiobook. The Nuclear accident facts and stories associated with them were interesting. However clearly the author did not have enough intelligent material to publish his book. As a result the pertinent material is intermixed with minutia. Endless drivel. Some examples: the movies playing and music released during the era of the event. What the pastimes of the various characters in the book that has NO relevance to the story. NOT worth the credit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Monica Fredrickson 09-20-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Challenging as an audiobook but good story"

    There is no pause between chapters and the storyline jumps around a lot. This makes it very difficult to follow. The narrator does a fine job, but how they put his recordings together is a real shame. More pause at transition points would have made a lot of difference in how easy it was to follow.
    The story is very detailed. I think this one is better as a real book, but the audio version will certainly captivate your mind if you have the attention dedication. The author has done an incredible amount of research and put it into a format that makes you care about and identify with the people in the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathon 09-12-17
    Jonathon 09-12-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Brilliant exposé"

    While it's long, the book bounces back and forth between the story of the Damascus accident and the progression of nuclear weapons and their command and control. Its wonderfully written and Scott Brick does a great job with the material.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dana 09-07-17
    Dana 09-07-17
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    "Can you handle the brutal truth about nukes?"

    There HAS TO BE A GOD! No country has blown itself up yet. Scary history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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