Patrick Porter

Fingers Crossed

The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times

By

Bloomsbury 340pp £20 order from our bookshop

How the End Begins: The Road to Nuclear World War III

By

Simon & Schuster 304pp £20 order from our bookshop

In January 1997, President Boris Yeltsin opened his nuclear suitcase. Russian observers had mistaken a Norwegian weather satellite for an incoming missile, and his advisers told him that he had only minutes to launch retaliation. A catastrophic major war and a nuclear winter could have begun – by accident. Like other similar near misses, this epitomises the enduring terrors of nukes. It shows the susceptibility of a deterrence system to human error; the extremely short windows in which leaders must make decisions about the future of the species; and the hair-trigger alert status of these weapons. Such dangers are explored in Mohamed ElBaradei’s forthright The Age of Deception and Ron Rosenbaum’s more textured, idiosyncratic and interesting How the End Begins.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Whom did Picasso label a 'bristly pig'? Read Rosalind P Blakesley's review of The Collector by Natalya Semenova to… ,
    • Alexandra Gajda on Anna Beer's new biography, Patriot or Traitor: The Life and Death of Sir Walter Ralegh ,
    • Mark Lawson reviews @jonathancoe's Middle England - The Rotters' Club for our Brexit age. ,
    • 'Behind every book that is published lies ... a haunted landscape, populated by the ghosts of things written and ex… ,
    • 'We once more live in a great age of dragon invention' Here's Tom Shippey on Martin Arnold's The Dragon ,
    • RT : Man at the q&a part of the book panel: Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't say it Don't s… ,
    • Here's @epkaufm's Whiteshift, reviewed in this month's magazine by ,