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Publisher's Summary

At the same time former presidential advisor Daniel Ellsberg famously took the top-secret Pentagon Papers, he also took with him a chilling cache of top secret documents related to America's nuclear program in the 1960s. Here for the first time he reveals the contents of those documents and makes clear their shocking relevance for today.

The Doomsday Machine is Ellsberg's hair-raising insider's account of the most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization, whose legacy - and renewal under the Obama administration - threatens the very survival of humanity. It is scarcely possible to estimate the true dangers of our present nuclear policies without penetrating the secret realities of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, when Ellsberg had high-level access to them. No other insider has written so candidly of that long-classified history, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era. Ellsberg's analysis of recent research on nuclear winter shows that even a 'small' nuclear exchange would cause billions of deaths by global nuclear famine. Ellsberg, in the end, offers steps we can take under a new administration to avoid nuclear catastrophe.

Framed as a memoir, this thriller with cloak-and-dagger intrigue places Ellsberg back in his natural role as whistle-blower. It is a real-life Dr. Strangelove story but an ultimately hopeful - and powerfully important - audiobook.

©2017 Bloomsbury US (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Fascinating Insider Story

This is an excellent book on nuclear weapons policy and planning at the highest levels of government as told from an insider's perspective. Given the author's personal involvement in the topics discussed, it is a rare glimpse into the inner-workings of a highly secretive realm. There are mind-blowing historical facts described, and probably everyone should read and contemplate the associated issues. Be forewarned, though, the price of becoming informed will probably be increased cynicism, fear and incredulity.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Important and alarming story, machine-like performance

Very interesting book. Welll written. The performance is unfortunately amateurish. The reader seems incapable of understanding where one sentence ends and another begins, constantly struggling and stumbling through the author’s use of punctuation. The whole performance seems so uncomprehending and monotonous that for a long time I actually wondered if I was listening to a sophisticated synthetic voice.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Mind Boggling

Extraordinary insider account of nuke command and control.
The reader is a bit robotic with sometimes strange pronunciation but he does grow on you and is easy to follow.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Are we nuts??

The strongest powers in the world, those who possess enough nuclear weapons to destroy the earth 100 times over, lead by the righteousness of the United States, plan to cut their nose to spite their face.

It is incredible that they are willing to destroy humanity to prove a point. Deterrence is a sorry ass excuse for eliminating human and animal life on Earth.

This is a story of an insider talking about secrets and plans, which are still going on. Who are those people that get to decide humanities end?

Does anything justify total annihilation? This is the big question of this book, with many insider facts I doubt anyone ever knew. Highly recommended for those who have the power to change things.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Powerful appeal to our hearts and minds

Ellsberg reveals his own role in the madness of preparing for nuclear war, describes how we got to this scary state where the entire human race could be extinguished, and concludes with an impassioned plea to end it now. Well worth reading to learn about the reality of the possibility of nuclear winter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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not hyperbole, credible author, calmly informative

worth listening to. worth contemplating, worth action, re decentralize power, trust God. final choice: "coexist peacefully or coexterminate violently"

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A must read for all of us

This is very special book. I did not know that, even today, should the President be incapicated certain military generals may authorize the use of atomic weapons.
But the most startling information are the number of people who will die with one
bomb. These numbers are in the millions. But equally terrible is the impact explosion of a hydrogen bond will have a profound impact on the atmosphere. The more explosions, the more the more likely that we may block out the sun and end life on earth as we now now it.
My only criticism is that the book is written in the first person.

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good book

I really liked the content of the book, but the narrator made listing very difficult. Every time I would turn it on to listen I would think "Is this a computer reading the story?"

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Chilling

Most people assume the threat of nuclear war ended in 1992 with the fall of the soviet union. Truth is, it has never been more possible - accidentally or intentionally. Familiar with a lot of the material in this book it was chilling to have someone connect the dots from 1939 - current regarding the United States nuclear weapons and the willingness and continued plans to use them despite all scenarios ending in the planet becoming uninhabitable for life as we know it. MAD indeed... Between this and another title called Ravenrock, that highlights the various schemes concocted to keep the government going post Armageddon; it is evident that a form of madness has infected our elected officials. There will be no winners with a simple miscalculation or purposeful decision resulting in the end of the species.

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Interesting but robotic

This is a subject I have long been interested in. I have read a lot of the hard copy before. I purchased the audio so I could listen while doing chores. But this narration is bland and allowed me to be easily distracted. The narration sounds artificial. I’m not sure it’s not a computer reading. This is a narrative. A man is ‘talking’ to us. Where is the conversational tone? It’s not dry, just-the-facts academic report. So why is there no inflection of speech?Perhaps the narrator speaks to family and friends this way. But he’s paid to speak like a man of interest would speak. There is nothing engaging here. I will keep listening only because I spent the money. Save yours.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-28-18

Terrifying

A truly terrifying book that I is without question a must read for all. highly recommended

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  • Thad Beumont
  • 01-24-18

Interesting book - hideous audiobook!

The subject of this book is really very interesting. He has had an interesting and varied career deep within the American apparatus behind the planning and organisation of the nuclear arsenal. He makes a compelling argument for why the oft quoted defense of "deterrence" for holding vast nuclear arsenal is a bit of a tautology.

However, the narrator is hideous. Truly awful. Utterly and totally unlistenable to. At several points, it is completely indistinguishable from a very poor synthesized voice. In fact, it's probably worse as he doesn't seem to be aware of punctuation or what it's for.

A shame, I have had to download the book to read and return the audio book purely because the narration is so awful

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  • matt bowden
  • 01-09-18

There really isn't much new in this

This is not really anything new in this and not as well written as the dead hand.

The narrator is awful - sounds like Google maps gps guidance.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful