The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner (click images to enlarge)

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

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Description of The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

"As a one-time insider and long-time student of nuclear strategy, Dan provides both a helpful overview coupled with lots of historical details."

Read a full review on Truthdig

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Shortlisted for the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
Finalist for The California Book Award in Nonfiction
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Best of 2017 List
In These Times “Best Books of 2017”
Huffington Post’s Ten Excellent December Books List
LitHub’s “Five Books Making News This Week”


From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the dangers of America's Top Secret, seventy-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day.

Here, for the first time, former high-level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking firsthand account of America's nuclear program in the 1960s. From the remotest air bases in the Pacific Command, where he discovered that the authority to initiate use of nuclear weapons was widely delegated, to the secret plans for general nuclear war under Eisenhower, which, if executed, would cause the near-extinction of humanity, Ellsberg shows that the legacy of this most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization--and its proposed renewal under the Trump administration--threatens our very survival. No other insider with high-level access has written so candidly of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, and nothing has fundamentally changed since that era.

Framed as a memoir--a chronicle of madness in which Ellsberg acknowledges participating--this gripping exposé reads like a thriller and offers feasible steps we can take to dismantle the existing "doomsday machine" and avoid nuclear catastrophe, returning Ellsberg to his role as whistle-blower. The Doomsday Machine is thus a real-life Dr. Strangelove story and an ultimately hopeful--and powerfully important--book about not just our country, but the future of the world.



An Amazon Best Book of December 2017: When Daniel Ellsberg was busy photocopying the Pentagon Papers—the set of classified documents that outlined the actual scope of the Vietnam War, the scale and illegality of which was unknown to the American public—he was also collecting information about the capabilities of the United States’ nuclear arsenal, in particular its philosophies and strategies regarding its use. Ellsberg, who worked in the highest levels of government crafting nuclear strategy before he became a whistleblower, lost those copies long ago, and for decades he held his knowledge close for fear of prosecution. But recent Freedom of Information Act disclosures have made him a little more comfortable in sharing his experience and information, and again, what he reveals that what we have been told— that these devastating weapons only existed as a method of deterrence—has never been true. Rather, the options of “first strike” or “first use” were, and are, always key components of American foreign strategy. That’s just from the introduction of The Doomsday Machine; what follows is an astonishing behind-the-scenes collection of detailed descriptions of global near-calamities, flawed launch protocols (both the U.S.’s military and our adversaries’), and the government’s own chilling estimates on the potential carnage following a nuclear conflict. At this moment especially, this book is terrifying. It’s also impossible to put down. --Jon Foro, Amazon Book Review

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