Covering the development of the atomic bomb during the Second World War, the origins and early course of the Cold War, and the advent of the hydrogen bomb in the early 1950s, Churchill and the Bomb explores a still neglected aspect of Winston Churchill's career – his relationship with and thinking on nuclear weapons. Kevin Ruane shows how Churchill went from regarding the bomb as a weapon of war in the struggle with Nazi Germany to viewing it as a weapon of communist containment (and even punishment) in the early Cold War before, in the 1950s, advocating and arguably pioneering what would become known as “mutually assured destruction” as the key to preventing the Cold War flaring into a calamitous nuclear war.
While other studies of Churchill have touched on his evolving views on nuclear weapons, few historians have given this hugely important issue the kind of dedicated and sustained treatment it deserves. In Churchill and the Bomb, however, Kevin Ruane has undertaken extensive primary research in Britain, the United States and Europe, and accessed a wide array of secondary literature, in producing an immensely readable yet detailed, insightful and provocative account of Churchill's nuclear hopes and fears.
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Kevin Ruane is Professor of Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.Review:
"If you thought there was nothing fresh to say about Winston Churchill, the look at Kevin Ruane’s tremendously assured Churchill and the Bomb which has new things to say both about the great man himself and the diplomatic climate of the 1940s and 1950s." - A Book of the Year, BBC History
"Excellent ... Thorough in its analysis and scrupulously fair in its judgments." - A Book of the Year, Times Higher Education
"A hugely impressive analysis of Churchill's relationship with peaceful and military nuclear fission ... There have been books on this subject before, but Kevin Ruane's is the best of them and has the huge advantage of making complicated scientific theories easily explicable to the layman ... [The subject] makes for gripping reading in Ruane's capable hands." - Literary Review
"Churchill's remarkable career continues to fascinate. Many in the stream of new books about him are mere potboilers, but a few, like Ruane's, combine excellent scholarship with great readability. Ruane (Canterbury Christ Church Univ., UK) argues that Churchill's post-1945 career (often dismissed as a disappointing coda to the great war years) in fact shows a Churchill both adaptable and creative until his final retirement in 1955. And never was that so true as with his engagement with the nuclear age ... An important story very well told. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries." - CHOICE
"There are times when books appear whose insights have specific resonance, helping to create a greater understanding of world events than before. Kevin Ruane's profound analysis of the changing nature of the relationship between Winston Churchill and the development of the atomic bomb provides an example." - Military History Monthly
"Kevin Ruane’s Churchill and the Bomb is a work of impeccable scholarship, based on a profound study of many primary sources. It cannot be recommended too highly." - Twentieth-Century British History
"This is an important addition to the Churchill literature, filling a gap...in what we can now know―thanks to declassification of documents on both sides of the Atlantic―about a crucial period, especially the postwar jockeying for national position in the growing Cold War." - Finest Hour: Journal of the International Churchill Society
“In his excellent study Ruane describes three “incarnations” of Churchill and nuclear weapons during the period 1941 to 1955: the atomic bomb-maker, the atomic diplomatist, and the nuclear peace-maker ... Churchill and the Bomb in War and Cold War is a well-researched, detailed, and comprehensive study of Churchill and nuclear weapons.” - A Blog on Winston Churchill
Kevin Ruane has taken as his subject Winston Churchill, a well-worn protagonist, dealing with a lesser-known subject, nuclear weapons, and produced an original, compelling study which hands the reader a real page-turner. - Kathleen Burke, University College London, UK, author of Old World, New World: the Story of Britain and America
This masterly account is a very important addition to the Churchill literature ... By putting Churchill's atomic diplomacy into its wider context, Kevin Ruane illuminates one of the most vital issues of our times: the origins of the first weapons of Mass Destruction and the dilemmas that they pose for humanity. This book is scholarly yet easy to read and will appeal to all those interested in the period. - Richard Toye, University of Exeter, UK, author of Churchill’s Empire: the World that Made him and the World He Made
Kevin Ruane's study of Churchill's engagement with nuclear issues combines the in-depth knowledge of the Historian with a lucid writing style that readers will find highly informative and engaging. He has accessed a wide range of archives to tell a fascinating story that delves into nuclear science, great power diplomacy, British political history and the towering figure of Churchill himself. - John Young, Nottingham University, UK, author of Winston Churchill’s Last Campaign: Britain and the Cold War 1951-1955
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Book Description Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M1472530802