The Future of Immortality and Other Essays for a Nuclear Age

Robert Jay Lifton, Author Basic Books $21.95 (305p) ISBN 978-0-465-02597-8
One American GI who said he ""felt good'' immediately after killing Vietnamese civilians serves to illustrate the capacity in each of us for psychic numbing. An acquired callousness to evil and sufferingwhether the result of war, the Holocaust or the nuclear arms raceis the focus of these collected essays by the noted psychiatrist whose books include The Broken Connection and The Nazi Doctors. Lifton views Reagan's ``Star Wars'' plan for laser weapons in space as a denial of our total vulnerability. He criticizes ``nuclearism,'' a dependency on, and even worship of nuclear weapons as manifested by Reagan, Edward Teller, Herman Kahn and those evangelical Christians who see nuclear annihilation as God's will. Turning to literature, he argues that Vonnegut's death-dance, Mailer's wallowing in violence and Grass's grotesqueries all tell us that our civilization is threatened. The value of these essays is that they forcefully drive home the realization that we must survive or die as a species. (February 25)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 978-0-465-02598-5
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