Monday, April 29, 2024

Nuclear War: A Scenario by Annie Jacobsen


Nuclear War: A Scenario
by Annie Jacobsen
ISBN 9781911709596
Nuclear war is an insane concept. Nevertheless, here we are in a world brimming with weapons that can destroy life as we know it many, many times over. In this book, Anne Jacobsen describes what would/could happen in the event of a rogue leader launching a nuclear weapon at the United States. She bases this on interviews, research, and access to the declassified information that is currently available. The book is incredibly well-written and reads like a thriller, as she describes, minute-by-minute, what would happen both with the nuclear warhead in its journey towards the target and with the US government as they react to the fact of an impending nuclear strike. She talks to people who have been in situations and jobs where they were well-versed in the procedures that would ensue. She explains what such a strike would do to the target area and the people in it. She talks about the possibility of a nuclear detonation in space that would immediately stop the US electric grid from functioning. The people she talks to admit that while the goal of having nuclear arsenals is deterrence, all of the plans and protocols go out the window in the event of an actual launch.

The book is subtitled, A Scenario, and it is structured in that way. The author is telling a story, based on fact as far as is possible. She lays out a scenario in which a 'mad king'--in this case in North Korea--launches a nuclear strike against the United States. How would people in the US and elsewhere respond? Would communication between the US and Russia occur and would it help to prevent more catastrophe or would things escalate? The situation she describes seems all too plausible. The book is very timely, describing as it does the nuclear arsenals that are precariously sitting all over the globe and in the oceans, while unhinged leaders feel an increasing need to appear powerful. This is an extremely important book that is also so well-written that it's a page-turner. Everyone should read it.

I thank NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for a digital review copy.


David M. Gascoigne, said...

Sounds like a really cheerful read, Shari!

Shari Burke said...

Definitely not cheerful, but certainly eye-opening. And terrifyingly plausible.

Lowcarb team member said...

I really do not know if I would read this book, although I have to say from the thoughts you've shared here it sounds a very good one.

All the best Jan

Shari Burke said...

I did end on rather a bossy note! I can see though, how it could be a tough or even traumatizing read for some people, or simply not of interest to others. I read it months ago--at the end of last year or the very early days of this one--and I haven't stopped thinking about it. Now that it's published, Bill has requested it from the library. It definitely doesn't inspire confidence.