Command and Control

Command and Control

Paperback

By (author) Eric Schlosser

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  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 656 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 28mm | 447g
  • Publication date: 3 July 2014
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0141037911
  • ISBN 13: 9780141037912
  • Sales rank: 22,936

Product description

Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a missile silo in rural Arkansas, where a single crew struggled to prevent the explosion of the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States, with a historical narrative that spans more than fifty years. It depicts the urgent effort to ensure that nuclear weapons can't be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust. Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with men who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Command and Control takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view.

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Author information

Eric Schlosser is the author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness, as well as the co-author of a children's book, Chew on This. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker, the Nation, and Vanity Fair, and he was an executive producer on the films Fast Food Nation and There Will Be Blood and a co-producer of the documentary Food Inc.

Review quote

So damnably readable. It drives the vision of a world trembling on the edge of a fatal precipice deep into your mind ... a piece of work of the deepest import, with the multilayered density of an ambitiously conceived novel -- John Lloyd Financial Times Do you really want to read about the thermonuclear warheads that are still aimed at the city where you live? Do you really need to know about the appalling security issues that have dogged nuclear weapons in the 70 years since their invention? Yes, you do. In Schlosser's hands it is a reading treat ... he's a natural genius -- Jonathan Franzen Guardian, Books of the Year Part techno-thriller, part careful historical investigation ... beautifully written and impressively researched -- Gerard DeGroot Daily Telegraph Brilliant, gripping, chilling -- Steven Shapin London Review of Books The author of Fast Food Nation does for the American nuclear industry what he did for industrial food production Economist, Books of the Year Eric Schlosser detonates a truth bomb in Command and Control Vanity Fair Deeply reported, deeply frightening ... a techno-thriller of the first order Los Angeles Times An excellent journalistic investigation of the efforts made since the first atomic bomb was exploded, outside Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945, to put some kind of harness on nuclear weaponry. By a miracle of information management, Schlosser has synthesized a huge archive of material, including government reports, scientific papers, and a substantial historical and polemical literature on nukes, and transformed it into a crisp narrative covering more than fifty years of scientific and political change. And he has interwoven that narrative with a hair-raising, minute-by-minute account of an accident at a Titan II missile silo in Arkansas, in 1980, which he renders in the manner of a techno-thriller ... Command and Control is how nonfiction should be written -- Louis Menand The New Yorker A devastatingly lucid and detailed new history of nuclear weapons in the U.S... fascinating -- Lev Grossman Time Command and Control ranks among the most nightmarish books written in recent years; and in that crowded company it bids fair to stand at the summit. It is the more horrific for being so incontrovertibly right and so damnably readable. Page after relentless page, it drives the vision of a world trembling on the edge of a fatal precipice deep into your reluctant mind ... a work with the multilayered density of an ambitiously conceived novel ... Schlosser has done what journalism does at its best when at full stretch: he has spent time - years - researching, interviewing, understanding and reflecting to give us a piece of work of the deepest import Financial Times Perilous and gripping ... Schlosser skillfully weaves together an engrossing account of both the science and the politics of nuclear weapons safety ... The story of the missile silo accident unfolds with the pacing, thrill and techno details of an episode of 24 San Francisco Chronicle Disquieting but riveting ... fascinating ... Schlosser's readers (and he deserves a great many) will be struck by how frequently the people he cites attribute the absence of accidental explosions and nuclear war to divine intervention or sheer luck rather than to human wisdom and skill. Whatever was responsible, we will clearly need many more of it in the years to come New York Times Book Review Easily the most unsettling work of nonfiction I've ever read, Schlosser's six-year investigation of America's 'broken arrows' (nuclear weapons mishaps) is by and large historical-this stuff is top secret, after all-but the book is beyond relevant. It's critical reading in a nation with thousands of nukes still on hair-trigger alert ... Command and Control reads like a character-driven thriller as Schlosser draws on his deep reporting, extensive interviews, and documents obtained via the Freedom of Information Act to demonstrate how human error, computer glitches, dilution of authority, poor communications, occasional incompetence, and the routine hoarding of crucial information have nearly brought about our worst nightmare on numerous occasions Mother Jones A powerful mix of history, politics, and technology, told with impressive authority Independent Eric Schlosser brings the investigative rigour of his big hit Fast Food Nation to this overview of our global nuclear arsenal Herald