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Publisher's Summary

A myth-shattering exposé of America's nuclear weapons.
Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A groundbreaking account of accidents, near misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: How do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved - and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind. While the harms of global warming increasingly dominate the news, the equally dangerous yet more immediate threat of nuclear weapons has been largely forgotten.
Written with the vibrancy of a first-rate thriller, Command and Control interweaves the minute-by-minute story of an accident at a nuclear missile silo in rural Arkansas with a historical narrative that spans more than 50 years. It depicts the urgent effort by American scientists, policy makers, and military officers to ensure that nuclear weapons can't be stolen, sabotaged, used without permission, or detonated inadvertently. Schlosser also looks at the Cold War from a new perspective, offering history from the ground up, telling the stories of bomber pilots, missile commanders, maintenance crews, and other ordinary servicemen who risked their lives to avert a nuclear holocaust. At the heart of the book lies the struggle, amid the rolling hills and small farms of Damascus, Arkansas, to prevent the explosion of a ballistic missile carrying the most powerful nuclear warhead ever built by the United States.
Drawing on recently declassified documents and interviews with people who designed and routinely handled nuclear weapons, Command and Control takes readers into a terrifying but fascinating world that, until now, has been largely hidden from view. Through the details of a single accident, Schlosser illustrates how an unlikely event can become unavoidable, how small risks can have terrible consequences, and how the most brilliant minds in the nation can only provide us with an illusion of control. Audacious, gripping, and unforgettable, Command and Control is a tour de force of investigative journalism, an eye-opening look at the dangers of America's nuclear age.
©2013 Eric Schlosser (P)2013 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By S. Mersereau on 10-14-13


What did you love best about Command and Control?

The story brings together the history, science and military facets of nuclear weapons, by building on an actual Titan ICBM accident.

What did you like best about this story?

Having served in the Strategic Air Command and kept B-52s aloft with live nukes, the stories were a revelation - so many accidents and near catastrophes - that one can only conclude we were saved from ourselves.

Any additional comments?

It is hard to appreciate the overwhelming threat that nuclear weapons posed in the 60s and 70s, and the relief at the end of the cold war.

But then, the weapons haven't gone away...

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jeff on 03-11-14


This is a great read but it will scare the shyt out of you. Nuclear weapons + human error = utter catastrophe. I dont know about you but I always assumed things as dangerous as nuclear weapons were handled with enormous over cautious care. To learn that the people in charge of policy and those that actually handle them are no better than those in your life that you dread lending your car to is a crap your pants revelation.

This is a very well written book that you will prefer to remember as fiction but is of course non fiction. Scott Brick is an utterly perfect match as narrator making this medicine taste great. The revelatory nature of these facts should put this book front and center of our news media and zeitgeist, but thats not going to happen because were all kept amused with bread and circus and no news media will touch it. If your nerves are already at their limit with the state of things and your plate is overflowing, you may want to pass on the revelations contained here. If you can take it- its a drop jaw fascinating listen

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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