This book provides the first documented description of the genesis and institutionalization of America's nuclear surveillance system. It traces the development of covert technical methods for assessing the nuclear capability of foreign powers from the introduction of these techniques in World War II to 1949, when they were successfully employed to detect the test of Russia's first atomic bomb. Ziegler and Jacobson examine the planning for the system as well as the technical and organizational obstacles that had to be overcome before it could be implemented. They describe the government decision-making processes and the ways individuals and groups with different beliefs and interests were mobilized in support of the program. They also explore the relationships between the intelligence and scientific communities that were forged in this process.
• Over two thousand loaded bombers that crossed American skies. They sometimes crashed and at least nine times resulted in nuclear weapons being accidentally dropped
• A system that would use timers and rockets to launch missiles even after everyone was dead
• Disastrous atmospheric nuclear testing including the horrific runaway bomb—that fooled scientists and put thousands of men in uniform in the center of a cloud of hot fallout
• A plan to use dry lake beds to rebuild and launch a fighting force in the aftermath of nuclear war
Based on formerly classified documents, military records, press accounts, interviews and over 10 years of research, 15 Minutes is one of the most important works on the atom bomb ever written.
"Tom Engelhardt is the I. F. Stone of the post-9/11 age."—Andrew J. Bacevich
In 2008, when the US National Intelligence Council issued its latest report meant for the administration of newly elected President Barack Obama, it predicted that the planet's "sole superpower" would suffer a modest decline and a soft landing fifteen years hence. In his new book The United States of Fear, Tom Engelhardt makes clear that Americans should don their crash helmets and buckle their seat belts, because the United States is on the path to a major decline at a startling speed. Engelhardt offers a savage anatomy of how successive administrations in Washington took the "Soviet path"—pouring American treasure into the military, war, and national security—and so helped drive their country off the nearest cliff.
This is the startling tale of how fear was profitably shot into the national bloodstream, how the country—gripped by terror fantasies—was locked down, and how a brain-dead Washington elite fiddled (and profited) while America quietly burned.
Think of it as the story of how the Cold War really ended, with the triumphalist "sole superpower" of 1991 heading slowly for the same exit through which the Soviet Union left the stage twenty years earlier.
Tom Engelhardt created and runs the TomDispatch website, a project of The Nation Institute, where he is a fellow. He is the author of the critically acclaimed The American Way of War and The End of Victory Culture.