The Doomsday Machine

The Doomsday Machine

Confessions of A Nuclear War Planner

Book - 2017
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"Here, for the first time, former high level defense analyst Daniel Ellsberg reveals his shocking first-hand 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 expose 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 whistleblower. 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."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury USA, [2017]
ISBN: 9781608196708
1608196704
9781608196746
Branch Call Number: 355.0217 ELL
Characteristics: 420 pages ; 25 cm

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SeattleSaul
Sep 13, 2019

The author known most infamously for his publication of the Pentagon Papers, revealing that our government knew that the disastrous Vietnam War could not be won, and his near imprisonment, writes passionately about the nuclear weapons dilemma today. There is a good lead up to the development of the first weapons, the secrecy, faulty beliefs and outright lies about the creation, morality, and necessity of their use against our World War Two enemy, Japan, and later the possible use against the Soviet Union and theirs against us. The author, a top-level insider doing research and planning for the military, explains how he was taken in by the errors in judgement and facts, but later came to see that nobody can sanely launch a nuclear war for fear of destroying all human and other life on the planet. He urges us and all nuclear governments to come to our senses and at least cut back on the most quick-launch weapons.
The book is almost an apologia for the author’s involvement in nuclear planning. Some parts seem a bit more drawn out and repetitive than necessary, but I can feel the emotional call for us to finally come to grips with the nuclear insanity that still holds the entire world at the edge of complete annihilation.

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byoneoka
Nov 25, 2018

Surely Ellsberg's most important book-- far greater than the publication of the Pentagon Papers.

The theme of this work -- that the foundation of US nuclear power is and has aways been a first strike strategy -- needs to be publicized, and thoroughly, publicly debated.

A must read!

s
SPM
Jun 01, 2018

This is one of the most disturbing books I have ever read. I could not put it down even though it is so alarming. Even after the shocks in the first 100 pages or so it doesn't get any easier to carry on reading.
The fact that around 1960 the US military had plans of how to fight a nuclear war that they never disclosed to their political masters including the US president is unbelievable. And when they did they did not at first tell the whole story. Is it any better now?
As the book goes on it is astonishing to read exactly what was later revealed about the Cuban Missile crisis and how close the world was to a full nuclear war.
In the end one is left drained and thoroughly convinced of the need to get rid of the scourge of nuclear weapons. Unfortunately there seems little appetite to confront this issue at all and discuss why nuclear weapons are needed at all. This is even more disturbing considering some of the leadership in the smaller nuclear states such as Pakistan, never mind the alarmingly ignorant stance of the US President. I am left with the feeling that the US DoD should most probably be renamed the Department of Offense, and similarly in Russia, China etc
Read this book, and spread the messages detailed by Ellsberg near the end of the book.

a
AaronAardvark1940
Jan 11, 2018

This book is easily the scariest Christmas gift I've ever received. The story of the nuclear arms race, told by a privileged insider, is full of inept politicians, unthinking military, and disregard for mere citizens, whether "theirs" or "ours." Ellsberg details the futility of strategic nuclear planning, as well as limning the continued danger. He still has hope for the Earth's survival, but I am not reassured. This heavily referenced volume is a great piece of historical story-telling. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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mwigan
Dec 05, 2017

A stunning set of clear and critically important revelations- I must read his book on the Pentagon papers now!

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