AUTHORHerzog, Rudolph
TITLEA Short History of Nuclear Folly
PUBLISHERMelville House
CITYBrooklyn, NY

This book, written by a German writer and TV producer, focuses on the lesser known and more extreme events of the early period of nuclear history to illustrate the reckless, optimistic use of nuclear energy and underscore the danger of its legacy. The engaging narrative draws upon the author’s memories of life in Germany during the Cold War as well as official records and journalistic sources. Examples discussed come from both military and civilian applications, such as the use of atomic explosives to dig canals and harbors, accidents involving nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons tests, and nuclear medicine. The book shows how nuclear energy was first approached with “a nearly fatal mixture of frivolity, naïveté, and unscrupulousness” which allowed “economic and global-political interests to trump social and ecological reason” (p.6). The author suggests that present day attitudes and policy toward nuclear technology indicate people have not learned from that history. The book was first published in German in 2012.

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