The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

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Bloomsbury Publishing USA, Dec 5, 2017 - History - 420 pages

Shortlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction
Finalist for The California Book Award in Nonfiction
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Best of the Year List

Foreign Affairs Best Books of the Year
In These Times “Best Books of the Year"

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 expos
ť 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 exposť 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.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nmele - LibraryThing

This book is a compelling but truly terrifying account of U.S. nuclear plans and policies from the Manhattan Project to the present. Why terrifying? Because it is a thoroughly-documented history of ... Read full review

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

User Review  - Book Verdict

Before he researched the background of the Vietnam conflict, ex-marine Ellsberg (Secrets) analyzed nuclear warfare decision-making for the RAND Corporation and the Pentagon. He would go on to leak the ... Read full review


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About the author (2017)

In 1961, Daniel Ellsberg, a consultant to the White House, drafted Secretary Robert McNamara's plans for nuclear war. Later he leaked the Pentagon Papers. A senior fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, he is the author of Secrets and the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America. He is also a key figure in Steven Spielberg's film about the Pentagon Papers, The Post, and the winner of the Olof Palme Prize for profound humanism and exceptional moral courage. He lives in Kensington, California, with his wife, Patricia.

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