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Armageddon and Paranoia

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Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 512
Subject: History & Classics
Illustrations: 16 page plate section

Armageddon and Paranoia

The Nuclear Confrontation

Rodric Braithwaite

Nuclear weapons exist and so does the possibility of worldwide annihilation. How did we reach this terrifying reality?

9781781257197 (21 Sep 2017)

About the book

In 1945, the atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and old ideas of warfare came to an end. This book tells how the power of the atom was harnessed to produce weapons capable of destroying human civilisation.

There were few villains in the story. On both sides of the Iron Curtain, dedicated scientists cracked the secrets of nature, dutiful military men planned to use the bomb in war, politicians contemplated with a potentially intolerable decision. Patriotic citizens acquiesced in the idea that their country needed the ultimate means of defence. Some tried to grapple with the unanswerable question: what end could possibly be served by such a fearsome means? Those who protested went unheard. None wanted to start a nuclear war, but all were paranoid. The danger of war by accident or misjudgement was never entirely absent.

Rodric Braithwaite, author of bestsellers Moscow 1941 and Afgantsy, paints a vivid and thought-provoking portrait of this intense period in history. Its implications are as relevant today as they ever were, as ignorant and thoughtless talk about nuclear war begins to spread once more.

About the author

Sir Rodric Braithwaite is a former British diplomat and author whose long Foreign Office career took him to Indonesia, Poland, Italy, America and Russia. He was British Ambassador in Moscow during the fall of the Soviet Union, about which he wrote in Across the Moscow River (2002, Yale). He was subsequently foreign policy adviser to the Prime Minister, John Major, and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. He is author of Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan [Profile, 9781846680625], and Moscow 1941 [Profile, 9781846687748], a bestseller translated into nineteen languages.


A timely and sober book ... a trenchant and stimulating analysis of nuclear deterrence

- Observer

A wise observer of how close we came to Armageddon

- Prospect

Praise for Afgantsy:'Outstanding


This is the book every politician, every general, every diplomat contemplating getting into, or out of, Afghanistan should be made to read. [...] It is a minor masterpiece.

- Guardian

[Braithwaite] is one of the most vivid emotionally engaged diplomats to have turned to the pen.

- Financial Times

Additional Information

Imprint: Profile Books
Pages: 512
Subject: History & Classics
Illustrations: 16 page plate section

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