Top 10 Books for Your 2013 Radioactive Reading Resolution

With a new year come exciting opportunities to expand your knowledge of nuclear issues. Since you have probably read through last year’s list (well done!) and our summer list (kudos!), we’re providing you with a brand new list to satisfy your reading resolution for 2013. Covering diverse topics from Hiroshima manga (Japanese graphic novels) to the development of the bomb in Pakistan there is something to satisfy the nuclear wonk in everyone.

  1. The Partnership: Five Cold Warriors and Their Quest to Ban the Bomb, Philip Taubman. A behind the scenes look at the relationship between five former Cold Warriors as they campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapons.
  2. The Opportunity: Next Steps in Reducing Nuclear Arms, Steven Pifer and Michael O’Hanlon. Noting the importance of New START, Pifer and O’Hanlon analyze the nuclear arms challenges for 2013 and beyond and recommend further steps to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world.
  3. A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry, Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger. Tag along with two journalists on a trip to visit international nuclear tourist sites including the Nevada Trinity test site, Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Center, and Esfahan Uranium Conversion Facility in Iran. 
  4. Keeper of the Nuclear Conscience: The Life and Work of Joseph Rotblat, Andrew Brown. Rotblat was a key nuclear physicist in the British atom bomb project who later gave up nuclear physics to work for peace. He won the 1995 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in organizing the influential Pugwash Conferences.
  5. Alas, Babylon, Pat Frank and David Brin. A 1959 novel about the effects of a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union on a small town in Florida. One of the first apocalyptic novels of the nuclear age.
  6. Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb, Feroz Khan. The first comprehensive history of Pakistan’s nuclear program, a program developed in the face of myriad obstacles.
  7. The Penultimate Truth, Philip K. Dick. A post-nuclear WWIII American society has to live underground in “tanks” with insufficient resources in order to avoid the “yance men” above who control societies and have hoarded key supplies.
  8. Barefoot Gen, Keiji Nakazawa. A Japanese manga series about a child having to survive the atomic bombing of Hiroshima during WWII after losing most of his family and possessions.
  9. Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, Graham Allison. Allison makes the case that nuclear terrorism is currently inevitable, but ultimately preventable. Although written in 2004, many of the conclusions and recommendations to deter “the deadliest form of terrorism” are still relevant.
  10. The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir, Seyed Hossein Mousavian. A look at the history of the Iranian nuclear crisis from the former spokesman for Iran’s nuclear negotiations team. Interweaving historical and personal accounts, Mousavian provides political analysis of more than a decade of diplomatic efforts between Iran and the West.

This article includes contributions by Jeffrey Zhu

Photo: Reading a Memoir - Ben Harding