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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

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  • Jason
  • Uniontown, OH, United States
  • 08-14-17

Awesome book

I am a huge Stephen king fan and love books that scare the hell out of me. This book will keep you up at night knowing how close we have come as a society to nuclear destruction. It is long but written in a way that keeps you entertained, and of course Scott brick is the best narrater out there

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No fighting in the war room!

I learned quite a lot from this book, it read almost like an older Tom Clancy novel. The narrative of the Damascus incident paired with the overall history of our nuclear weapon program was a fascinating, scary, and sometimes humorous look into the Cold War. I would recommend to anyone looking for a solid history book.

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Phenomenal

History interwoven with a story that will capture anyone's attention. Truly emotional and a rollercoaster of events.

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Crazy and Scary

Great book! A riveting nonfiction educational book that is full of suspense. The accounts of accidents and misguided confidence are frightening. It is crazy and insightful to hear what has happened all within the last century.

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Great book

loved it.good narration.absolutely harrowing account of the dangers of atomic and thermonuclear weapons. well worth listening

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Highly recommended!

Great story! Command and Control will open your eyes to an element of our world that is rarely recognized. If you enjoy true history and a captivating story, this is a must read! Well written and narrated!

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Hidden history of Nuclear Weapons of the USA.

Found this book riveting. As a former SAC trained killer, I found the history within this book very illuminating. The US history of Nuclear weapons is smoothly wound the Damascus incident. So we'll told that I gave up lots of sleep to finished. must read for anyone who served in SAC or the cold war.

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Incredible History

While history of this type can turn out incredibly dry and difficult to finish at times, I found this book incredibly engaging. A friend recommended that I check it out after a brief discussion about nuclear weapons and I'm so glad that I did. I've come out better informed and found the telling of events incredibly interesting.

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The Best Book on Nukes!

If you find the subject of nuclear weapons science, strategy, policy, and/or history even the least bit compelling, then this is the book for you to get!

I've long been very interested in these areas and I've listened to just about every book that Audible has on the topic. Among those titles have been many good reads and quite a few truly great ones. But among that crowd, Eric Schlosser's book "Command and Control" stands head and shoulders above the rest. This is simply the most comprehensive, wide-scoped, and ambitiously detailed book of its type that I've yet come across.

The book's central theme is the examination of the nuclear command and control system and the various aspects of risk management and safety that surround the development, deployment, and management of nuclear weapons. The book, however, goes well beyond that focus, to give a real tour de force treatment of nuclear weapons. From the very beginnings of the first nuclear weapons research, to the esoteric theoretical and scientific principles that make these devices possible, to the technical and engineering details of individual weapon system designs and the history of their development, deployment, and intended uses, all the way to the constantly evolving space of nuclear strategy and doctrine throughout every U. S. administration from FDR to George W. Bush... this book seemingly leaves no stone unturned.

The book is told as a narrative history, or more accurately histories (plural), of many nuclear accidents and mishaps. The well known Damascus Incident of 1980 serves as the unifying narrative, broken up into chunks that are told to the reader in bits and pieces, broken up by the recounting of numerous other incidents and countless historical, scientific, and political tangents that truly flesh out an impressive compendium for those interested in this kind of stuff. That Schlosser is able to tie all of this together in one book, while keeping it cohesive and maintaining a logical flow between its various parts is the mark of a true labor of love.

Equally impressive is the balance Schlosser is able to strike between a rich intellectual analysis and idiosyncratically personal human moments. The book treat its more complex technical and scientific information with integrity, while gracefully managing to stay deeply in tune with the humanity of the people and personalities in the story. Far from being cold and dry, this book is thoughtful, deeply inquisitive, and continually refocuses itself on quintessentially human problems and factors, all while never flinching or shying away from looking at the facts with a sober and steady view.

Highly recommended to anyone who's interested in the subject matter or who loves a good narrative full of techno drama and political machinations. also highly recommended for anyone interested in systems analysis and risk management, as the problems and issues that come to light as some of the key conclusions of this book are applicable to so many everyday people in today's world of complex integrated systems.

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Well written, narrated, and truly frightening

This book will SCARE you as only real things in life can. I knew that we had come close to nuclear wars and weapons disasters, but never knew it was THAT CLOSE.

I would like to think my Dad played a part in our Cold War survival as a Quality Assurance Inspector of munitions.

COMMAND AND CONTROL is very well narrated, too. Scott Brick is excellent. I will seek out his other narrations.