Cover image for The second nuclear age
The second nuclear age
Gray, Colin S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Boulder, Colo. : Lynne Rienner Publishers, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiii, 193 pages ; 24 cm
Reading Level:
1600 Lexile.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
U264 .G734 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Taking issue with the complacent belief that a happy mixture of deterrence, arms control, and luck will enable humanity to cope adequately with weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the author of this study argues that the risk posed by WMD is ever more serious. Policy that ignores the nuclear age, he cautions, is policy that ignores reality.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

For more than 20 years Colin Gray has challenged the orthodoxies of arms control and nuclear deterrence. This short volume pulls together much of his work in light of American military superiority and the collapse of a Soviet threat. Gray defines the second nuclear age in terms of the lack of a single political axis (although he suggests a third age may emerge with the rise of China) and the inevitable proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Avoiding the details of technology, he holds that the nuclear age is not a problem to be solved but a condition to be endured. Since he finds structural problems with the reliability of nuclear deterrence and a Western tendency to self-delusion, he argues that prudence demands the American deployment of ballistic missile defense and the acquisition of nuclear weapons to penetrate and destroy the most hardened targets. One may have cause to argue with his reasoning--there is the tendency to assume an "extended deterrence" posture that isn't necessarily so, or to assume that "prudence" comes without long-term costs that cancel out the original gain. Nevertheless, Gray states his arguments with clarity and encourages the reader to engage the issues. Recommended for graduate students and policy analysts. D. McIntosh; Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
Prefacep. xi
1 Nuclear Problem, Nuclear Conditionp. 1
Notesp. 15
2 The Second Nuclear Age: the Hunt for Political Contextp. 17
Notesp. 44
3 Beyond the Fuel Cycle: Strategy and the Proliferation Puzzlep. 47
Notesp. 75
4 To Confuse Ourselves: Nuclear Fallaciesp. 79
Notesp. 110
5 Nuclear Strategyp. 115
Notesp. 148
6 Coping with a Nuclear Futurep. 153
Notesp. 170
Bibliographyp. 171
Indexp. 187
About the Bookp. 193