AUTHORKeeney, L. Douglas
TITLE15 Minutes: General Curtis LeMay and the Countdown to Nuclear Annihilation
PUBLISHERSt. Martin’s Press
CITYNew York, NY

This book uses three telling events during the Cold War to reveal the lesser-known side of the U.S. policy of mutually assured destruction (MAD), focusing on the activities of the U.S. Strategic Air Command (SAC) under the leadership of General Curtis LeMay. Organized as a year-by-year account, the author mainly discusses three particular events to represent the alarming nature of MAD in action: the development of the SAC into a massive fleet of bombers poised to strike enemy targets within 15 minutes notice; the testing of nuclear weapons in the Pacific’s Marshall Islands; and the little-known fate of an Air Defense Command radar installation in the North Atlantic Ocean. The engaging narrative is enriched by information from recently declassified documents that shed light on subjects such as the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP), which directed thousands of nuclear weapons to hundreds of targets in the Soviet Union and China. The narrative also recounts numerous accidents involving bombers and missiles carrying nuclear weapons at locations across the globe. An appendix contains a list of terms and abbreviations common to the language of the Cold War.

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