The Rise of Nuclear Fear

Author: Spencer R. Weart
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674065069
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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After the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant had a meltdown, protesters around the world challenged nuclear power. Climate change has never aroused this visceral dread. Weart dissects this paradox, showing that powerful images surrounding nuclear energy hold us captive, allowing fear, rather than facts, to drive our thinking and public policy.

Nuclear Fear

Author: Spencer R. WEART
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 0674044983
Format: PDF
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Our thinking is inhabited by images-images of sometimes curious and overwhelming power. The mushroom cloud, weird rays that can transform the flesh, the twilight world following a nuclear war, the white city of the future, the brilliant but mad scientist who plots to destroy the world-all these images and more relate to nuclear energy, but that is not their only common bond. Decades before the first atom bomb exploded, a web of symbols with surprising linkages was fully formed in the public mind. The strange kinship of these symbols can be traced back, not only to medieval symbolism, but still deeper into experiences common to all of us. This is a disturbing book: it shows that much of what we believe about nuclear energy is not based on facts, but on a complex tangle of imagery suffused with emotions and rooted in the distant past. Nuclear Fear is the first work to explore all the symbolism attached to nuclear bombs, and to civilian nuclear energy as well, employing the powerful tools of history as well as findings from psychology, sociology, and even anthropology. The story runs from the turn of the century to the present day, following the scientists and journalists, the filmmakers and novelists, the officials and politicians of many nations who shaped the way people think about nuclear devices. The author, a historian who also holds a Ph.D. in physics, has been able to separate genuine scientific knowledge about nuclear energy and radiation from the luxuriant mythology that obscures them. In revealing the history of nuclear imagery, Weart conveys the hopeful message that once we understand how this imagery has secretly influenced history and our own thinking, we can move on to a clearer view of the choices that confront our civilization. Table of Contents: Preface Part One: Years of Fantasy, 1902-1938 1. Radioactive Hopes White Cities of the Future Missionaries for Science The Meaning of Transmutation 2. Radioactive Fears Scientific Doomsdays The Dangerous Scientist Scientists and Weapons Debating the Scientist's Role 3. Radium: Elixir or Poison? The Elixir of Life Rays of Life Death Rays Radium as Medicine and Poison 4. The Secret, the Master, and the Monster Smashing Atoms The Fearful Master Monsters and Victims Real Scientists The Situation before Fission Part Two: Confronting Reality, 1939-1952 5. Where Earth and Heaven Meet Imaginary Bomb-Reactors Real Reactors and Safety Questions Planned Massacres "The Second Coming" 6. The News from Hiroshima Cliché Experts Hiroshima Itself Security through Control by Scientists? Security through Control over Scientists? 7. National Defenses Civil Defenses Bombs as a Psychological Weapon The Airmen Part Three: New Hopes and Horrors, 1953-1963 8. Atoms for Peace A Positive Alternative Atomic Propaganda Abroad Atomic Propaganda at Home 9. Good and Bad Atoms Magical Atoms Real Reactors The Core of Mistrust Tainted Authorities 10. The New Blasphemy Bombs as a Violation of Nature Radioactive Monsters Blaming Authorities 11. Death Dust Crusaders against Contamination A Few Facts Clean or Filthy Bombs? 12. The Imagination of Survival Visions of the End Survivors as Savages The Victory of the Victim The Great Thermonuclear Strategy Debate The World as Hiroshima 13. The Politics of Survival The Movement Attacking the Warriors Running for Shelter Cuban Catharsis Reasons for Silence Part Four: Suspect Technology, 1956-1986 14. Fail/Safe Unwanted Explosions: Bombs Unwanted Explosions: Reactors Advertising the Maximum Accident 15. Reactor Poisons and Promises Pollution from Reactors The Public Loses Interest The Nuplex versus the China Syndrome 16. The Debate Explodes The Fight against Antimissiles Sounding the Radiation Alarm Reactors: A Surrogate for Bombs? Environmentalists Step In 17. Energy Choices Alternative Energy Sources Real Reactor Risks "It's Political" The Reactor Wars 18. Civilization or Liberation? The Logic of Authority and Its Enemies Nature versus Culture Modes of Expression The Public's Image of Nuclear Power 19. The War Fear Revival: An Unfinished Chapter Part Five The Search for Renewal 20. The Modern Arcanum Despair and Denial Help from Heaven? Objects in the Skies Mushroom and Mandala 21. Artistic Transmutations The Interior Holocaust Rebirth from Despair Toward the Four-Gated City Conclusion A Personal Note Sources and Methodology Notes Index Reviews of this book: Nuclear Fear is a rich, layered journey back through our 'atomic history' to the primal memories of monstrous mutants and mad scientists. It is a deeply serious book but written in an accessible style that reveals the culture in which this fear emerges only to be suppressed and emerge again. --Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe Reviews of this book: A historical portrait of the quintessential modern nightmare...Weart shows in meticulous and fascinating detail how [the] ancient images of alchemy-fire, sexuality, Armageddon, gold, eternity and all the rest-immediately clustered around the new science of atomic physics...There is no question that the image of nuclear power reflects a complex and deeply disturbing portrait of what it means to be human. --Stephan Salisbury, Philadelphia Inquirer Reviews of this book: A detailed, probing study of American hopes, dreams and insecurities in the twentieth-century. Weart has a poet's acumen for sensing human feelings ... Nuclear Fear remains captivating as history...and original as an anthropological study of how nuclear power, like alchemy in medieval times, offers a convenient symbol for deeply-rooted human feelings. --Los Angeles Times Reviews of this book: Weart's tale boldly sweeps from the futuristic White City of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the discovery of radioactivity in 1896 through Hiroshima and Star Wars... (An] admirable call for synthesis of art and science in a true transmutation that takes us beyond nuclear fear. --H. Bruce Franklin, Science

The Atomic Bazaar

Author: William Langewiesche
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 0374106789
Format: PDF, ePub
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A shocking study of the global proliferation of nuclear weapons examines the spread of nuclear technology into unstable, undeveloped, and other hostile nations, as well as the potential that such weapons will fall into the hands of guerrilla terrorists, looking specifically at the role of renegade scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and at the chances for nuclear terrorism. 75,000 first printing.

British Nuclear Culture

Author: Jonathan Hogg
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 1441109242
Format: PDF, ePub
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The advent of the atomic bomb, the social and cultural impact of nuclear science, and the history of the British nuclear state after 1945 is a complex and contested story. British Nuclear Culture is an important survey that offers a new interpretation of the nuclear century by tracing the tensions between 'official' and 'unofficial' nuclear narratives in British culture. In this book, Jonathan Hogg argues that nuclear culture was a pervasive and persistent aspect of British life, particularly in the years following 1945. This idea is illustrated through detailed analysis of various primary source materials, such as newspaper articles, government files, fictional texts, film, music and oral testimonies. The book introduces unfamiliar sources to students of nuclear and cold war history, and offers in-depth and critical reflections on the expanding historiography in this area of research. Chronologically arranged, British Nuclear Culture reflects upon, and returns to, a number of key themes throughout, including nuclear anxiety, government policy, civil defence, 'nukespeak' and nuclear subjectivity, individual experience, protest and resistance, and the influence of the British nuclear state on everyday life. The book contains illustrations, individual case studies, a select bibliography, a timeline, and a list of helpful online resources for students of nuclear history.

Fortress America

Author: Elaine Tyler May
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 0465093000
Format: PDF, Mobi
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An award-winning historian untangles the roots of America's culture of fear, and argues that it imperils our democracy For the last sixty years, fear has seeped into every area of American life: Americans own more guns than citizens of any other country, sequester themselves in gated communities, and retreat from public spaces. And yet, crime rates have plummeted, making life in America safer than ever. Why, then, are Americans so afraid-and where does this fear lead to? In this remarkable work of social history, Elaine Tyler May demonstrates how our obsession with security has made citizens fear each other and distrust the government, making America less safe and less democratic. Fortress America charts the rise of a muscular national culture, undercutting the common good. Instead of a thriving democracy of engaged citizens, we have become a paranoid, bunkered, militarized, and divided vigilante nation.

Hiroshima to Fukushima

Author: Eiichiro Ochiai
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 3642387276
Format: PDF, ePub
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Set against a backdrop of the recent disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, "Hiroshima to Fukushima" examines the issue of radiation safety. The author provides important and accurate scientific information about the radioactive substances arising from nuclear power plants and weapons, including the effects of this radiation on living organisms. Currently, humankind is at a crossroads and must decide whether to phase out or increase its reliance on nuclear power as weapons and an energy source. Although a few countries, mostly European, have vowed to abolish nuclear power as an energy source, many other countries are about to increase their nuclear power programs. This book is written from a Japanese perspective and thus provides an alternative to views of Western writers. The author includes rigorous scientific analyses, however maintains a broad scope, which allows the book to be accessible to decision-makers and non-specialists.

Atomic Obsession

Author: John Mueller
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199745814
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Following 9/11, Americans were swept up in a near hysteria-level fear of terrorists, especially of Islamic extremists working domestically. The government and media reports stoked fears that people living in the US have the desire and means to wreak extreme havoc and destruction. Early reports estimated slightly more than 300 al Qaeda operatives living in the United States. It wasn't long before this number became 2,000 or 5,000 domestic terrorists. As these estimates snowballed, so did spending on federal counterterrorism organizations and measures, spending which now totals over a trillion dollars. The federal government launched more covert operations in the name of fighting terrorist adversaries than they did in the entirety of the forty-five year Cold War. For each apprehension of a credible terrorist suspect, the US government created or re-organized two counterterrorism organizations. The scale of these efforts has been enormous, yet somehow they have not been proven to make Americans feels safe from what they perceive to be a massive terrorist threat. But how well-founded is this fear? Is the threat of terrorism in the United States as vast as it seems and are counterterrorism efforts effective and appropriately-scaled? It has not, statistically speaking, been efficient or successful. Only one alarm in 10,000 has proven to be a legitimate threat-the rest are what the authors refer to as "ghosts." These ghosts are enormous drains on resources and contribute to a countrywide paranoia that has resulted in widespread support and minimal critical questioning of massive expenditures and infringements on civil liberties, including invasions of privacy and questionably legal imprisonments. In Chasing Ghosts, John Mueller and Mark Stewart argue that the "ghost chase" occupying American fears, law enforcement, and federal spending persists because the public believes that there exists in the US a dire and significant threat of terrorism. The authors seek to analyze to what degree this is a true and to what degree the threat posed by terrorists in the US defends the extraordinary costs currently put towards their investigation. The chance that an American will be killed by a terrorist domestically in any given year is about one in four million (under present conditions). Yet despite this statistically low risk and the extraordinary amount of resources put towards combatting threats, Americans do not profess to feel any safer from terrorists. Until the true threat of domestic terrorism is analyzed and understood, the country cannot begin to confront whether our pursuit of ghosts is worth the cost.

Nuclear Rites

Author: Hugh Gusterson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520213739
Format: PDF
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"An extremely important work. . . . It demonstrates the power that ethnographic analysis can have when directed at an examination of our own society's central nervous system."--Faye Ginsburg, author of Contested Lives "Essential reading for anyone trying to understand what Cold War science was in all its cultural aspects and what this same science now in transformation might yet be."--George E. Marcus, co-editor of The Traffic in Culture

The Doomsday Machine

Author: Daniel Ellsberg
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1608196747
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America's Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that--chillingly--continues to this day. Here, for the first time, former high level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking first-hand account of America's nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization--and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration--threatens our very survival. No other insider with high level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era. Framed as a memoir--a chronicle of madness in which Ellsberg acknowledges participating--this gripping expose reads like a thriller and offers feasible steps we can take to dismantle the existing "doomsday machine" and avoid nuclear catastrophe, returning Ellsberg to his role as whistleblower. The Doomsday Machine is thus a real-life Dr. Strangelove story and an ultimately hopeful--and powerfully important--book about not just our country, but the future of the world.