Book Review: The Bomb: A New History by Stephen M. Younger | Science News

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Book Review: The Bomb: A New History by Stephen M. Younger

Review by Elizabeth Quill

10:41am, June 5, 2009

Nuclear policy in the United States has yet to escape the Cold War’s shadow. In this account of the atomic bomb, a former director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency makes a case for a reanalysis of the nation’s nuclear needs. “Our nuclear weapons stockpile is optimized for a threat that no longer exists,” Younger writes.

Younger offers a straightforward account of nuclear weapons: how they were developed, how they work and how they forced humankind into constant vulnerability, straddling the line between mutually assured destruction and peace.

Because the weapons cannot be uninvented, Younger argues, the United States should take a close look at what to do with the ones it has. Maintaining current stockpiles indefinitely, he says, will be impossible without testing the weapons to make sure that they still work after years of sitting around.

Though Younger takes a middle-of-the-road approach and his tone is mild-mannered, his positi

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