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By Lawrence S. Wittner
Confronting the Bomb tells the dramatic, inspiring story of how citizen activism helped curb the nuclear arms race and prevent nuclear war. This abbreviated version of Lawrence Wittner’s award-winning trilogy, The Struggle Against the Bomb, shows how a worldwide, grassroots campaign—the largest social movement of modern times—challenged the nuclear priorities of the great powers and, ultimately, thwarted their nuclear ambitions. Based on massive research in the files of peace and disarmament organizations and in formerly top secret government records, extensive interviews with antinuclear activists and government officials, and memoirs and other published materials, Confronting the Bomb opens a unique window on one of the most important issues of the modern era: survival in the nuclear age. It covers the entire period of significant opposition to the bomb, from the final stages of the Second World War up to the present. Along the way, it provides fascinating glimpses of the interaction of key nuclear disarmament activists and policymakers, including Albert Einstein, Harry Truman, Albert Schweitzer, Norman Cousins, Nikita Khrushchev, Bertrand Russell, Andrei Sakharov, Linus Pauling, Dwight Eisenhower, Harold Macmillan, John F. Kennedy, Randy Forsberg, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helen Caldicott, E.P. Thompson, and Ronald Reagan. Overall, however, it is a story of popular mobilization and its effectiveness.
Lawrence S. Wittner is Professor of History at the State University of New York, Albany, and former President of the Peace History Society. He is the author of the trilogy The Struggle Against the Bonmb: One World or None [Stanford, 1993], Resisting the Bomb [Stanford, 1997] and Toward Nuclear Abolition [Stanford, 2003].