AUTHORSchell, Jonathan
TITLEThe Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger
PUBLISHERMetropolitan Books
CITYNew York, NY

In this book, which confronts the nuclear age in its seventh decade since Hiroshima, the author's premise may be summarized in the following statement: “Nuclear weapons cannot be the source of advantage for any one nation or group of nations at the expense of the rest; they are inescapably a common danger that can only be faced by all together” (p. 202). The author, Jonathan Schell, first provides a concise review of the role of nuclear weapons in bringing World War II to a close and in fueling the Cold War arms race, which resulted in the policy of mutually assured destruction; he then examines the politics of nuclear proliferation in nations other than the two Cold War superpowers. The final chapters are devoted to the post-Cold War era and the situation in 2007 with regard to proliferation and nuclear terrorism. Schell criticizes the George W. Bush administration’s policies with respect to confronting proliferation and offers suggestions for moving toward total abolition of nuclear weapons. The end notes for each chapter amount to an extensive bibliography of proliferation and arms control publications. Schell was a staff writer for The New Yorker from 1967-1987. He has written a dozen books including the influential The Fate of the Earth (1982), a reflective piece about nuclear weapons that raised public awareness, first published in The New Yorker. He has taken up the nuclear issue again in The Seventh Decade.

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