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Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  81 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Based on fieldwork at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory—the facility that designed the neutron bomb and the warhead for the MX missile—Nuclear Rites takes the reader deep inside the top-secret culture of a nuclear weapons lab. Exploring the scientists' world of dark humor, ritualized secrecy, and disciplined emotions, anthropologist Hugh Gusterson uncovers the ...more
Paperback, 392 pages
Published November 29th 1996 by University of California Press (first published October 30th 1996)
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Kevin Larsen
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anthropology
I read this for "Introduction to Anthropology" from MIT OpenCourseWare. It is an anthropology study of nuclear weapons scientists and some study of antinuclear activists in the 1980s. It describe the internal and social lives of weapon scientists, most notably their reasons for their work, in their lives and in relation to the wider world of politics.
There are remarkable quotes in there, my favorite is a senior weapons designer exclaiming that you can't blame a designer of a car for a drunk
...more
Lisa
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
So far so good. I thought it would be a snoozer. It's an anthropologist's study of the men & women who work at Lawrence Livermore Labs in Livermore, CA where nuclear arms are designed. The study takes in the community of Livermore and how they too reconcile with the fact that nuclear arms are designed there. I'm about halfway through.
Shannon
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Great book! I got to meet Hugh Gusterson this year at a conference. Smart guy who knows a lot about the nuclear industry.
Kaitlin
Nuclear Rites: A Weapons Laboratory at the End of the Cold War by Hugh Gusterson (1998)
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