The Nuclear Barons

Lawrence Ratzin (Jacket Design) New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1981. First Edition. First Printing. Hardcover. xii, 578, [2] pages. Footnotes. Bibliography. Notes. Index. Foxing to fore-edge. DJ soiled & edges worn: sm tears & chips. Presentation copy signed by Pringle on t-p. For thirty years Pringle was a foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times, The Observer and The Independent, working in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and the United States. He has also written for several U.S. newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic and The Nation. He is the author and co-author of several books on science and current affairs including: The Nuclear Barons, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York, 1981 (with translations into French, German and Japanese). James Jacob Spigelman AC, QC (born 1 January 1946) is a former Australian judge. He served as Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 25 May 1998 until 31 May 2011. On 8 March 2012 it was announced that he would become chairperson of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He was appointed to the Court of Final Appeal of Hong Kong on 8 April 2013 as a non-permanent judge from other common law jurisdictions. James Spigelman is the author of three books, co-author of a fourth and of some 170 published articles, including on a range of aspects of commercial and corporate law such as contractual interpretation, insurance law, commercial arbitration, insolvency, international commercial litigation, freezing orders and proof of foreign law. Three volumes of his speeches as Chief Justice have been published. The nuclear barons: an international elite of scientists, technocrats, and businessmen who have, for more than four decades, controlled the world's destiny. Their decisions--usually kept secret, often shortsighted, sometimes veiled by lies and obfuscations--have led inexorably to the present nuclear mess. Radiation hazards, prohibitively costly energy, waste-disposal problems, plant safety, weapons proliferation: the nuclear nightmares we live with are the direct result of choices that were never thought through to their logical conclusions, never opened to public debate. Derived from a Kirkus review: Money, power, politics, optimism . . . all played their part in what Pringle, of the London Sunday Times, and Australian official Spigelman describe as a ""Paracelsus"" kind of folly--finding many points of comparison between today's nuclear barons and that 16th-century charlatan/medicine man. Carefully, chronologically, the authors lay in the background of 20th-century physics that led to nuclear fission, the bomb, and a current age in which reactor sales are at a low and public disillusion is high following Three Mile Island. Perhaps Pringle and Spigelman give too much prominence to Szilard as a prime mover in alerting Roosevelt to the potential for bomb development; perhaps they overemphasize the Manhattan Project as an engineering, rather than scientific, feat. But in a work as comprehensive and meticulously researched as this one, these are minor flaws that do not mar the overall design that the authors reveal. In the second half the history of postwar developments in nuclear energy is a litany of short-sightedness, of gambling for high stakes and losing, of wheeling-and-dealing and assuming the public interest. All this is spelled out in terms of the internal politics and personalities of the countries that make up the ever-growing nuclear club--the countries that openly or clandestinely have the bomb. Interwoven are the test ban treaties, the nonproliferation agreements, the cartels to control reactor prices, etc. England went its stubborn and disastrous way to develop gas-cooled reactors. The Germans carried on in typical efficient German style. The Indians were zealots, obsessed with joining the club. Espionage presumably played a role in Israeli developments. Pringle and Spigelman write with an objectivity that gives the work authenticity. They conclude that we have not learned very much nor gone very far in nuclear power--and will not until education, safety, waste-disposal, engineering design, and alternate energy sources are seriously considered. A first-rate performance all around. Condition: good / fair.

Keywords: Nuclear Power, Atomic Bomb, Atomic Energy, Atoms for Peace, Breeder Reactors, Fallout, Fissile Material, Gaseous Diffusion, Leslie Groves, Hydrogen Bomb, IAEA, David Lilienthal, Manhattan Project, Nevada Test Site, Robert Oppenheimer, Plutonium, Radi

ISBN: 0030419018

[Book #14047]

Price: $45.00