Regular price: $42.00

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

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

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,135
  • 4 Stars
    456
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    17
  • 1 Stars
    15

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,075
  • 4 Stars
    398
  • 3 Stars
    99
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    9

Story

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,084
  • 4 Stars
    384
  • 3 Stars
    97
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    9
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kingsley
  • Henely Brook, Australia
  • 01-17-17

Command and Lack of Control

In the 1996 movie "Broken Arrow" Frank Whaley's character says "I don't know what's scarier, losing nuclear weapons, or that it happens so often there's actually a term for it." Now that movie uses the term 'broken arrow' incorrectly, as it is any accidental event that involves nuclear weapons including detonation (nuclear or not), radiation leaks, lose of a weapon etc. but that fact is there are a huge amount of 'broken arrow' or near broken arrow incidents. During the peak of the cold war there were dozens, or even hundreds, each year. Eric Scholosser provides an extremely well researched book covering US military nuclear incidents and 'broken arrow' events. And it is scary.

The book tells two stories - one storyline focusing on a major non-nuclear explosion of a nuclear missile silo in Damascus AK in 1980, the events causing it, the actions taken during and then after the explosion, the then the other story follows the overall history of USA's use of nuclear weapons and incidents, starting with the Manhattan Project, going through the history of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) and through the Cold War. The book outlines many of the research, testing, command structures around the development, command and control of the US nuclear arsenal, and looks into the events and causes of many of the broken arrow events. From old computers, to faulty reporting, to poor wiring, to lack of safety equipment, to human error the causes are often minor or silly, but with near extreme consequences.

It is worth noting it has always been "near extreme" consequences, with no nuclear weapons going thermonuclear by accident.

This book, along with James Mahaffey's "Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters; From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima", which focuses on nuclear incidents at power plants and other non-military installations, presents both a scary but interesting view of nuclear power and weapons.

Well researched and always engaging this book is a great read and certainly with the time.

This is another book narrated by Scott Brick. At this point I'm just copying and pasting old review of Brick's work. I've never heard of a more divisive narrator. People love him or hate him. I'm on the love him side, but your mileage may vary. He is clear and crisp, well paced and highly engaging while basically disappearing into the book. He is easy to listen to without ever "taking over" the book and drawing you out of it, or allowing you to be distracted.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Amazing listen

This book provides an unparalleled view of the nuclear era from its inception to its hopeful decline in the future. It details technological and managerial facets of the nuclear age that I never knew or suspected. It is a page turner from cover to cover. I strongly recommend it to anyone, especially those of us with an engineering or science background.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Command and Control

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend this book to Baby Boomers. It's a shocking expose of what was going on while we were growing up. It's a miracle that we actually lived this long considering the accidents and false alarms involving nuclear arms.<br/>Parts of the book may come across as dry due to the fact that Schlosser pays attention to details. I appreciated that as I was able to see what he was describing in my mind's eye.

What did you like best about this story?

The players were names I recognized and I could identify where I was in my life at the time all this was happening. President Eisenhower's terms in office were given a whole new aspect that was never taught in school. The same can be said for the succeeding presidents up through George W. Bush. One also finds out about the conflicts and decisions that were kept secret from the public.

What about Scott Brick’s performance did you like?

Scott Brick has the smoothest voice! He is a pleasure to listen to.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No

Any additional comments?

This is not a book for the faint of heart.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Boom!

I really enjoyed the audio book. If you have an interest in the Cold War, the Air Force, or nuclear weapons I think this is a book worth your time.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Scariest book I've listened to in a long time

After reading this book, I am surprised that we've never had any nuclear accident. The narration of this book is phenomenal.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Pop!!

Need to know about the truth and nuclear proliferation from Los Alamos to Nagasaki to Hiroshima to Bay of Pigs to subs, silos and B-52s. ALL the Presidents.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Loved it... Narration just meh

I thought the book was excellent but the Narrator seemed awkward narrating this title. I would recommend this title to anyone that has interest in the Cold War arms race. Very informative and interesting.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

inriguing. exciting. scary.

If you're interested in nuclear history and a little nuclear present and future, then this is a must read. However, the most captivating aspect of this book is the personal experiences of the people affected by the nuclear arms race. Read and be educated and moved!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • John
  • Riverside, CA, USA
  • 10-16-16

Let's get rid of missiles. Subs and B052s keep

Where does Command and Control rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Missiles are dangerous and the upper command was unable to understand the danger.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The incompetence of the military.

What does Scott Brick bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

x

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

x

Any additional comments?

x

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great Investigative Piece!

Schlosser provides a deep and definitive dive into the U.S.'s history of nuclear weapons. Definitely recommend for anyone interested in that area!