Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction

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9780199229543: Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction

Despite not having been used in anger since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear weapons are still the biggest threat that faces us in the 21st century. Indeed, for all the effort to reduce nuclear stockpiles to zero and to keep other nations (such as Iran) from developing nuclear capability, it seems that the Bomb is here to stay. In this gripping Very Short Introduction, Joseph M. Siracusa, an internationally respected authority on nuclear arms, provides a comprehensive, accessible, and at times chilling overview of the most deadly weapon ever invented. Siracusa explains the history of the arms race and the politics of the bomb, ranging from the technology of nuclear weapons, to the revolutionary implications of the H-bomb and the politics of nuclear deterrence. The issues are set against a backdrop of the changing international landscape, from the early days of development, through the Cold War, to the present-day controversy over George W. Bush's National Missile Defense, and the role of nuclear weapons in an Age of Terror. Providing an accessible and eye-opening backdrop to one of the most unsettling aspects of the modern world, this compact introduction is must reading.

About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

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Nuclear Weapons: Questions for Consideration and Discussion

  • Was President Truman justified in his decision to order the bombing of Hiroshima? Was it necessary or unnecessary?
  • Why would North Korea want nuclear weapons? And what would it take for them to forgo their development?
  • Who was J. Robert Oppenheimer? And what does his career have to say about the role of science and scientists in the ongoing nuclear debate?
  • What was the significance of the Cold War in the evolution of nuclear weaponry?
  • Do you agree with the notion that the acquisition of nuclear weapons has become the Holy Grail of terrorists?
  • About the Author:


    Joseph M. Siracusa is Professor in International Studies and Director of Global Studies, at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He is internationally known for his writings on nuclear history, diplomacy, and presidential politics, and is also a frequent political affairs commentator in the media.

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