AUTHOREllsberg, Daniel
TITLEThe Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a War Planner
CITYNew York, NY

This book draws on Daniel Ellsberg's relatively unknown work on U.S. nuclear war plans when he was an analyst at the RAND Corporation during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Ellsberg is best known for leaking the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. Defense Department’s top-secret history of the Viet Nam War in the early 1970s. The book explores three topics. First, Ellsberg discusses his work war planning at the RAND during the Eisenhower and Kennedy years when he became alarmed about the levels of destruction that U.S. nuclear war plans would cause. He was concerned that the plan posited a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Sino-Soviet bloc, even if China was not in the war. The second topic describes how the escalation of conventional bombing attacks on cities during World War II led the Air Force to the more efficient use of nuclear weapons on Japan. Finally, Ellsberg recommends ways to end the dependence of nations on nuclear weapons. The book offers the perspective of someone immersed in the development of U.S. nuclear war strategy while presenting information with human interests in mind.

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