AUTHORMcNamara, Robert S.
TITLEBlundering Into Disaster: Surviving the First Century of the Nuclear Age
PUBLISHERPantheon Books
CITYNew York, NY

Published in 1986, this book by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara envisions the possibility of additional decades of Cold War conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the light of that conflict, McNamara examines how the danger of a nuclear war can be lessened. He first reviews the evolution of U.S. and Soviet nuclear strategies during the Cold War. He then describes misconceptions that increase the danger of nuclear war. The main focus of the second half of the book is in examining options that the U.S. and the Soviet Union could pursue to lessen the chance of nuclear war. Some of those proposals are an East-West political reconciliation, eliminating all nuclear weapons, and the development of defense systems to replace weapons of offence. The author believes that the best option for the United States is to realize that nuclear weapons are unusable and to build a conventional force in Europe that is strong enough to deter the Soviet Union. The appendices include charts on the number of nuclear weapons owned by the U.S. and the Soviet Union during the prior 50 years and detailed information about some of the systems being developed at the time for the Star Wars program. The author also provides a short glossary. The book is an expansion on lectures that MacNamara gave at Duke University in October, 1986.

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