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In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the…

In Mortal Hands: A Cautionary History of the Nuclear Age

by Stephanie Cooke

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This book covers nuclear history from the Manhattan Project through the early 2000's (This book is pre-Fukushima). The book covers the politics of the bomb and nuclear power, and how information and material was sometimes just given away to other nations. I found the information on how Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea got their bombs to be very interesting. Parts of the book are dedicated to politics, which, I must admit, made my eyes glaze over. Parts of the book focus on nuclear instillation (both military and civilian) and how contaminated they are. The author also discusses the major accidents of the nuclear age, including: Chernobyl, SL-1 and Windscale. I was surprised at the author's discussion of SL-1. She presents the whole "it was a murder/suicide" theory as if it was fact. This seemed at odds with the factual presentation of the rest of the book. The author also abruptly breaks away from the text at times to add personal comments or recollections. Overall, this would probably be a good resource for someone interested in the politics of the nuclear age. It makes it clear that nuclear technology (both military and civilian) is in the hands of businesses and governments whose last care seems to be safety and containment. ( )
  LISandKL | Dec 23, 2014 |
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"This provocative history of nuclear power is perfectly timed for today, when Americans are gravely concerned with nuclear terrorism, and a nuclear renaissance is seen as a possible solution to global warming. Few have truly come to terms with the complexities of an issue which may determine the future of the planet. Nuclear weapons, it was once hoped, would bring wars to an end; instead, they spurred a massive arms race that has recently expanded to include North Korea and I ran. Once seen as a source of unlimited electricity, nuclear reactors breed contamination and have been used as covers for secret weapons programs, from I ndia and Pakistan to Iraq and Iran. The evolving story of nuclear power, as told by industry insider Stephanie Cooke, reveals the gradual deepening of our understanding of the pros and cons of this controversial energy source. Drawing on her unprecedented access, Cooke shows us how, time and again, the stewards of the nuclear age--the more-is-better military commanders and civilian nuclear boosters--have fallen into the traps of their own hubris and wishful thinking as they tried to manage the unmanageable. T heir mistakes are on the verge of being repeated again, which is why this book deserves especially close attention now"--Publisher's description.… (more)

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