The United States was the first country to develop nuclear weapons. It is also the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons against a foreign power.
The arms race during the Cold War led America and Russia to build vast arsenals of nuclear weaponry. America currently has more than 4,500 warheads ready to launch at a moment’s notice. It’s estimated that Russia has more. Command and Control takes a close look at the history of these weapons and the men and women responsible for them.
Since the development of nuclear technology in the 1940s there have been dozens of accidents and near misses. The world’s most powerful weapons are far more fragile than we think they are. There are rigorous security measures and safety procedures that are meant to prevent accidents, but that doesn’t mean that accidents won’t happen. The military can train missilers all day long but that doesn’t mean they can keep a nuclear ship from sinking (Russian Navy, 1970), or prevent a nuclear bomb from getting lost (Georgia, 1958, lost at sea – that’s right, I mean it is LOST)
Last month’s news reports about low morale, lapsed security, and narcotics abuse at some of America’s nuclear facilities got me interested in this book. Eric Schlosser gained national fame for his first book Fast Food Nation, his writing style is very approachable and informative. Anyone that liked Dr. Strangelove (how could you not?) would like Command and Control.