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Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe
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Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  164 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
"Allison's comprehensive but accessible treatment of this vital subject is a major contribution to public understanding." -The New York Times Book Review

Americans in the twenty-first century are keenly aware of the many forms of terrorism: hijackings, biological attacks, chemical weapons. But the deadliest form is almost too scary to think about-a terrorist group exploding
Paperback, 288 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 2004)
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Dec 15, 2013 Christoph rated it it was ok
I can't in good conscience give this much support as a go-to text in arms control theory. Leaving aside my personal stance on how to control proliferation of nuclear and radiological weapons let alone the urgency, this short exposition on the darkside of nuclear containment suffers too many shortcomings to be much help to us today. From the level of detail (low) to the tone of the argument (alarmist) to the ideological position (liberal-hawkish), not much can be gained from either subject matter ...more
Tom Sulcer
Dec 27, 2008 Tom Sulcer rated it liked it
Graham Allison's nuclear terrorism prevention strategy is a perceptive and tough look at a nagging problem of grave national importance. It's perhaps the best strategy possible given America's current structure. Allison warns that if terrorists get weapons of mass destruction, then the game is over because these weapons will probably be used against us, and therefore a rigorous strategy of locking down weapons worldwide is sensible. Allison fails to explain how the United States can act as the w ...more
David Roberts
May 31, 2014 David Roberts rated it it was amazing
The book I read to research this post was Nuclear Terrorism by Graham Allison which is an excellent book which I bought from a local bookstore. This book is about the possibilities of nuclear attacks by terrorist organizations which in theory could put even the attacks on the World Trade Center in the shade. According to this book it is more a question of when than if. In Chechnya Soviet forces found a so called dirty bomb before it could be detonated and that is currently the closest we have co ...more
Alex Milledge
Jun 17, 2013 Alex Milledge rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
A shocking expose of the most pertinent and immanent threat to the United States and the world.

I knew about the threat of nuclear terrorism, but after this, the fear of the threat was confirmed, and even made more and more aware. The facts were shocking, such as the 250 unsecured "suitcase" warheads that the soviets made and are still unaccounted for.

One positive aspect of the book was it tells how misallocated our fight against terrorism is. Our fight against terrorism should not be about toppl
James Slifierz
Aug 13, 2012 James Slifierz rated it liked it
Graham Allison's book on nuclear terrorism is a very informative read. Depending on how serious you take his warning, it can also be a very frightening read. The book serves as a great introduction to one of the most important foreign policy issues for most nations. There is great insight into the dealings of high-level members of the US government pertaining to this issue. The first half of this book, the informative part, is an eye-opening read containing facts that everyone should be made awa ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Chemical weapons can kill in the thousands. Over the same area, a football-sized nuclear packet could kill half a million. With Iran and North Korea joining the fray, Russia's massive supplies, and Pakistan's black market, we're in Big Trouble. Allison, who served under the first Clinton administration, models his argument on the successful Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program he helped implement when the Soviet Union collapsed. Nuclear Terrorism, well-written, lucid, and above all ho

Apr 25, 2015 ValeriZentsov rated it liked it
Graham Allison's Nuclear Terrorism has been getting some duff reviews for A) being insufficiently technical and B) being too alarmist.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but did none of these reviewers look at the cover, or read the introduction?

This book is not a textbook, and it is not an objective academic study. The purpose of the book is to argue for Mr Allison's position on nuclear reform, and to do this it has to give a level of detail that will support his case without frightening off nor
Mar 23, 2008 Kelley rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure how much I'd learn from this book given that I took a class on this stuff last fall, but I found it pretty informative (not to mention frightening). The reiteration over and over of the main points was sometimes a little annoying (yes, I got the point 40 pages ago), though.
Also, one big qualm: from the introduction, it seems the author has a very mistaken idea of where Houston's Chinatown is located.
Aug 01, 2009 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Washington Post Book World
Shelves: read-history
An excellent book, and serious, about the most important problem today that no one is paying attention to. "It's the plutonium, stupid" is the way that Professor Allison summarized it elsewhere. If the world can control the extraction and distribution of the plutonium, then we're all pretty safe. If not...
Ajay Ajay
Sep 28, 2014 Ajay Ajay rated it it was amazing
If you are really interested in knowing what happened to the nuclear rod that was stolen from a reactor in Africa; How the Father of Pakistani Nuclear Program was associated with Libyan autocrat; who sold the nuclear secret to whom.

Is terrorist organisation really capable of pulling a nuclear devise, the answer is in this book. An amazing work!
Jan 20, 2015 Matt rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
In all honesty I feel the book is poorly written and repeats itself a lot. I have read far better books on nuclear disaster/terrorist prevention, I feel the book has been some what dumbed down and this spoils it a lot, not 1 I would recommend to read!
Hom Sack
Jan 11, 2016 Hom Sack rated it it was amazing
What a frightening account. I hope the reason that there hasn't been a nuclear detonation in the 12 years since the publication of this book is due in part to the implementation of the recommendations made by the author.
Sep 29, 2007 james rated it liked it
frightening how easy it is to get access to nuclear material. makes me worry about the future of my children. seems like just a matter of time. i feel like a sitting duck, here in new york. maybe i SHOULD move to Anguilla. then again, i can run, but i can't hide.
Susan Marianelli
Aug 29, 2009 Susan Marianelli rated it really liked it
Terrifying look at the ease with which a nuclear bomb could be smuggled into the United States. The reality of this book makes it hard to sleep at night.
Aug 18, 2007 Dirk rated it really liked it
Yet another must-read before 2008
Dec 11, 2010 Steven added it
Author makes good points on our ability to prevent this unthinkable catastrophe.
Jan 01, 2017 Paul rated it really liked it
Excellent overview of the major challenges the world faces in this arena.
Kaitlin Oujo
Mar 10, 2015 Kaitlin Oujo rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015, nuclear
Excellent and comprehensive overview on this topic. Fully understand why this book is the one everyone recommends as the bible.
Alan Foreman
Alan Foreman rated it really liked it
Jul 19, 2011
James Gannon
James Gannon rated it really liked it
Nov 10, 2012
Jenny rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2013
Mubarak Chouhdry
Mubarak Chouhdry rated it really liked it
Apr 29, 2013
Jonah rated it liked it
Feb 13, 2008
Steph S
Steph S rated it liked it
Sep 18, 2012
Douglas rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2011
Full Stop
Full Stop rated it liked it
Apr 05, 2012
Brian Carlson
Brian Carlson rated it it was amazing
Jul 29, 2011
Sarah rated it liked it
Jul 01, 2012
Doug Norton
Doug Norton rated it it was amazing
Feb 17, 2013
Haleigh Morgus
Haleigh Morgus rated it it was amazing
Dec 27, 2015
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Graham Tillett Allison, Jr. (born 23 March 1940) is an American political scientist and professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. He is renowned for his contribution in the late 1960s and early 1970s to the bureaucratic analysis of decision making, especially during times of crisis. His book Remaking Foreign Policy: The Organizational Connection , co-written with Peter Sza ...more
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