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Almighty : Courage, Resistance, and Existential Peril in the Nuclear Age
by Dan Zak


Overview - **A Washington Post "Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016"**
ON A TRANQUIL SUMMER NIGHT
in July 2012, a trio of peace activists infiltrated the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Nicknamed the Fort Knox of Uranium, Y-12 was supposedly one of the most secure sites in the world, a bastion of warhead parts and hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium enough to power thousands of nuclear bombs.
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More About Almighty by Dan Zak
 
 
 
Overview
**A Washington Post "Notable Nonfiction Book of 2016"**
ON A TRANQUIL SUMMER NIGHT
in July 2012, a trio of peace activists infiltrated the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Nicknamed the Fort Knox of Uranium, Y-12 was supposedly one of the most secure sites in the world, a bastion of warhead parts and hundreds of tons of highly enriched uranium enough to power thousands of nuclear bombs. The three activists a house painter, a Vietnam War veteran, and an 82-year-old Catholic nun penetrated the complex s exterior with alarming ease; their strongest tools were two pairs of bolt cutters and three hammers. Once inside, these pacifists hung protest banners, spray-painted biblical messages, and streaked the walls with human blood. Then they waited to be arrested.
WITH THE BREAK-IN and their symbolic actions, the activists hoped to draw attention to a costly military-industrial complex that stockpiles deadly nukes. But they also triggered a political and legal firestorm of urgent and troubling questions. What if they had been terrorists? Why do the United States and Russia continue to possess enough nuclear weaponry to destroy the world several times over?
IN ALMIGHTY, WASHINGTON POST REPORTER Dan Zak answers these questions by reexamining America s love-hate relationship to the bomb, from the race to achieve atomic power before the Nazis did to the solemn 70th anniversary of Hiroshima. At a time of concern about proliferation in such nations as Iran and North Korea, the U.S. arsenal is plagued by its own security problems. This life-or-death quandary is unraveled in Zak s eye-opening account, with a cast that includes the biophysicist who first educated the public on atomic energy, the prophet who predicted the creation of Oak Ridge, the generations of activists propelled into resistance by their faith, and the Washington bureaucrats and diplomats who are trying to keep the world safe. Part historical adventure, part courtroom drama, part moral thriller, Almighty reshapes the accepted narratives surrounding nuclear weapons and shows that our greatest modern-day threat remains a power we discovered long ago."

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780399173752
  • ISBN-10: 0399173757
  • Publisher: Blue Rider Press
  • Publish Date: July 2016
  • Page Count: 416
  • Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.45 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Political Science > International Relations - Arms Control
Books > History > Military - Nuclear Warfare
Books > Political Science > Public Policy - Military Policy

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2016-05-09
  • Reviewer: Staff

This well-researched history from Washington Post reporter Zak tells the riveting story of three nuclear weapons protestors and how, in 2012, they infiltrated the ultrasecure uranium-enrichment facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed, and Michael Walli took different paths to becoming activists opposed to nuclear weapons, but they united on a breathtaking mission to protest America’s ongoing nuclear program. Zak also dives into the history of how the United States devoted enormous resources to the initial development of the nuclear bomb. At one point, nuclear weapons accounted for 10% of the country’s gross national product, and the Oak Ridge facility alone consumed around 14% of the U.S.’s electricity. Zak shows how the country continues to grapple with the tension between ensuring peace and maintaining weapons with the power to cause our own extinction. Despite President Obama’s early experience of antinuclear activism, his administration has continued to prolong the life of the U.S. nuclear weapons program. Much of the antinuclear movement is intertwined with Christian ethics and the Catholic Church, and it still uses as its central metaphor the Biblical idea of turning swords into plowshares. Zak gracefully synthesizes the stories of the politicians and bureaucrats controlling stockpiles of weapons and those of the activists working to disarm them. Agent: Lauren Clark, Kuhn Projects. (July)

 
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