AUTHORGhamari-Tabrizi, Sharon
TITLEThe Worlds of Herman Kahn
PUBLISHERHarvard University Press
CITYCambridge, MA

This biography is the first major study of the life of nuclear strategist Herman Kahn. Famous for his 1960 book On Thermonuclear War, Kahn spoke frankly about the unthinkable, nuclear war, and forced others to think about it, too. He imagined both what a nuclear war would be like and what the world would be like afterwards. The book follows the life of Kahn, but also the historical situation that influenced his thinking. It explores many subjects, including the use of war games, Kahn’s time at the RAND Corporation and the Hudson Institute, and the ideas he advocated. An interesting chapter discusses the influence of Kahn on the screenplay for Stanley Kubrick's film, Dr. Strangelove. Another chapter describes the transition of Monte Carlo simulation from physics to nuclear war games and strategy . The book successfully illustrates the complicated life of Kahn, who would be praised by some people as a genius and viewed by others as a malicious madman.

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