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The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner

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From the legendary whistle-blower who revealed the Pentagon Papers, an eyewitness exposé of the awful dangers of America’s hidden, fifty-year-long nuclear policy that continues to this day.

When former presidential advisor Daniel Ellsberg famously took the top-secret Pentagon Papers, he also took with him a chilling cache of top secret documents related to America’s nuclear program in the 1960s. Here for the first time he reveals the contents of those documents, and makes clear their shocking relevance for today.

The Doomsday Machine is Ellsberg’s hair-raising insider’s account of the most dangerous arms buildup in the history of civilization, whose legacy—and proposed renewal under the Trump administration—threatens the very survival of humanity. It is scarcely possible to estimate the true dangers of our present nuclear policies without penetrating the secret realities of the nuclear strategy of the late Eisenhower and early Kennedy years, when Ellsberg had high-level access to them. No other insider has written so candidly of that long-classified history, though the policies remain fundamentally, and frighteningly, unchanged

Ellsberg, in the end, offers steps we can take under the current administration to avoid nuclear catastrophe. Framed as a memoir, this gripping exposé reads like a thriller with cloak-and-dagger intrigue, placing Ellsberg back in his natural role as whistle-blower. It is a real-life Dr. Strangelove story, but an ultimately hopeful—and powerfully important—book.

387 pages, Hardcover

First published December 5, 2017

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About the author

Daniel Ellsberg

23 books155 followers
Daniel Ellsberg is a former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.

Ellsberg is the recipient of the Inaugural Ron Ridenhour Courage Prize, a prize established by The Nation Institute and The Fertel Foundation. In 1978 he accepted the Gandhi Peace Award from Promoting Enduring Peace. On September 28, 2006 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Award.

Ellsberg has been married twice. His first marriage, to Carol Cummings, the daughter of a Marine Corps Brigadier General, lasted 13 years before ending in divorce (at her request, as he has stated in his memoirs titled "Secrets"). Two children (Robert and Mary) were born of this marriage. In 1970, he married Patricia Marx, whom he had dated earlier.

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