Books: Fissionable Material

A WORLD DESTROYED: THE ATOMIC BOMB AND THE GRAND ALLIANCE by MARTIN J.SHERWIN 315 pages. Knopf. $10.

The age of backyard fallout shelters and grade-school air-raid drills is mercifully bygone. But nuclear warfare is by no means implausible. Despite the existence of various accords, the race to accumulate atomic firepower proceeds.

How did the precarious nuclear stalemate come about? For a generation, historians have been digging through the records of scientists and decision makers. Now, drawing on newly declassified documents, Princeton Historian Martin J. Sherwin has written a dispassionate, richly detailed account that...

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