IN MORTAL HANDS: A CAUTIONARY HISTORY OF THE NUCLEAR AGE
“[A] highly readable tale of the atom’s problems and possibilities, blending the author’s scientific and technical fluency with the human stories.”
This landmark history of nuclear power is perfectly timed for today, when Americans are gravely concerned with nuclear terrorism, and a nuclear renaissance is seen as a possible solution to global warming. Few have truly come to terms with the complexities of an issue which may determine the future of the planet. Nuclear weapons, it was once hoped, would bring wars to a close; instead, they spurred a massive arms race that has recently expanded to include North Korea and Iran. Once seen as a source of unlimited electricity, nuclear reactors breed contamination and have been used as covers for secret weapons programs from India and Pakistan to Iraq and Iran.
The evolving story of nuclear power, as told by industry insider Stephanie Cooke, reveals the gradual deepening of our understanding of the pros and cons of this controversial energy source. Drawing on her unprecedented access, Cooke shows us how, time and again, the stewards of the nuclear age– the more-is-better military commanders and civilian nuclear boosters– have fallen into the traps of their own hubris and wishful thinking as they tried to manage the unmanageable. Their mistakes are on the verge of being repeated again, which is why this book deserves especially close attention now.