On Thermonuclear War. Herman Kahn.
On Thermonuclear War
On Thermonuclear War
On Thermonuclear War
On Thermonuclear War

On Thermonuclear War

Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1960. First Edition. Hardcover. Octavo, 671 pp. Near Fine / good +. Item #19122401

Published just as Cold War tensions were near their peak following the Sputnik crisis, this book was written to "avoid disaster and buy time", according to Kahn. This volume is a treatise on the nature and theory of war in the thermonuclear weapons age. In it, Kahn addresses the strategic doctrines of nuclear war and its effect on the international balance of power; the book helped popularize the term megadeath, which Kahn coined in 1953. It also had an influence on the Stanley Kubrick 1964 film "Dr. Strangelove", where certain lines from the character General Buck Turgidson directly mimic passages from the book; Kahn himself served as one inspiration for Dr. Strangelove.

Herman Kahn (1922-1983) was a military strategist and systems theorist, who was a member of the Physics division of The RAND Corporation and later was a founder of the Hudson Institute, one of the preeminant futurists of the latter part of the 20th century; his theories contributed heavily to the development of the nuclear strategy of the United States (n.b., above information from Wikipedia).

Loosely laid into the book by a prior owner are three pieces of media coverage: the first is an article on Kahn published on November 28, 1976 by the Sunday Mercury News; the second is his obituary published by the San Francisco Chronicle on July 8, 1983 (reprinted from the NY Times obit); and the third is an undated leaf from U.S. News and World Report with a testimony to Kahn (clearly written at his passing) by William Brown.

___DESCRIPTION: Brick red cloth binding, gilt lettering and black rules on the spine, plain endpapers; pagination: (i)-xx, (1)-651. Dust jacket has white lettering on a dark charcoal grey background on the front and spine, black lettering on a white ground on the back panel and both flaps, the jacket has (alas) been price-clipped, a summary of the book and a short author bio on the front flap, back panel and flap both have review blurbs.

___CONDITION: Volume is near fine, with a strong, square text block, solid hinges, gently bumped corners which are without rubbing, the interior is clean and bright, and entirely free of prior owner markings; head and tail of the spine gently bumped and a hint of toning to the front endpapers (likely from the aforementioned media clippings having been laid in). The dust jacket is a bit better than good: entire, mostly clean with light overall soil; some overall edgewear most noticeable at the top of the front joint and some old cello tape on the verso at the head and tail of the spine.

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Price: $75.00

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