Work Title: A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry
Work Author(s): Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger
324 Pages, Hardcover $24.99
Reviewer: Deirdre Sinnott
Begin with a dash of plutonium, sprinkle some uranium-235, add a trigger mechanism and a rocket booster, and voila, a nuclear deterrence program! At least that's how it used to work.
For two years authors Hodge and Weinberger, both reporters on defense issues, used their vacations to visit various sites involved with the development, production, and storage of atomic weapons and the planning of nuclear war. Weinberger is the author of Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon's Scientific Underworld and is a contributing writer for Wired's national security blog. Hodge is a writer for Jane's Defense Weekly, Slate, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, and Details.
What they found in this post-Cold War and 9/11 attack era was a huge and expensive infrastructure struggling to reinvent itself. Before the collapse of the USSR the policy of deterrence kept the peace; after the collapse and just when it seemed that the "need" for weapons of mass destruction was drawing down, the 9/11 attacks threw war planners...