cover image Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons

Ward Wilson . HMH, $22 (208p) ISBN 978-0-547-85787-9

In this concise analysis of commonly held beliefs about nuclear weapons, Wilson argues that, from the bombing of Hiroshima, policy has been decided based on mistaken suppositions. The first is that the dropping of atomic bombs caused Japan to surrender, rather than the invasion of Manchuria by the formerly neutral Russians. This convenient lie was agreed to by both sides for propaganda purposes. Therefore, according to Wilson, the myth was born that nuclear weapons are so devastating that their existence prevents their use. He points out, with examples, that "destruction does not determine who wins or loses a war." The Cuban Missile Crisis is considered not as proof of the myth but as a negation of it. Another myth Wilson debunks is that the fear of nuclear catastrophe has prevented World War III. He concludes by asking for a revision of attitude because as long as nuclear bombs are viewed as a deterrent to war, nuclear weapons will proliferate. When these myths are extinguished, he contends, nuclear weapons can be discarded as a dangerous tool that is ineffective for the task. Wilson's theories are certain to create discussion and a reevaluation of assumptions on the topic. Agent: Martha Kaplan, Martha Kaplan Agency. (Jan.)