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Alex Wellerstein

Recommended Books

Alex Wellerstein is a historian of science at the Stevens Institute of Technology who studies the history of nuclear weapons. He is the creator of NUKEMAP.
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Armageddon Insurance book cover
Armageddon Insurance
Civil Defense in the United States and Soviet Union, 1945–1991 (The New Cold War History)
Edward M. Geist - 2019-01-07
Goodreads Rating
This book delves into the dangerous arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War and asks a crucial question: how did they plan to survive a nuclear strike? Through previously unexamined archives, author Edward M. Geist provides a pioneering reassessment of American and Soviet civil defense programs and reveals the cultural preoccupations and blind spots which impacted their development. This work challenges historical assumptions and uncovers the power struggles between institutions pursuing their own self-interests which shaped nuclear weapons policies.
Alex Wellerstein
@MaraWilson 1) Duck and Cover was not a useless as it looks to us today. For 1950 it was solid advice. 2) The Soviets also had a Civil Defense program. Nearly all nuclear nations did at some point. An excellent book on the Soviet and US Civil Defense programs is:      source
Alex Wellerstein
Also this book from the early 1950s combines 1) an amazing title with 2) amazing typographical choices. SPOILERS: it doesn't actually tell you how to make an atomic bomb in your own kitchen.      source
Anathem book cover
Neal Stephenson - 2008-09-09
Goodreads Rating
Enter the world of Fraa Erasmas, a young avout who has spent a decade in a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers. Protected from the outside world, Erasmas is thrust into a cataclysmic event that will change everything he knows. Follow along as he becomes a key player in a dramatic journey that will determine the future of his world, taking him to the most inhospitable corners of the planet and beyond.
Alex Wellerstein
@JBWolfsthal @nealstephenson Snow Crash and Diamond Age are the easy ways in. I tend to recommend people start with them. I think his best book is Anathem but if you start with it, you probably won't like it — it's very long, very strange. But rewarding!      source
Controlling Human Heredity book cover
Controlling Human Heredity
1865 to the Present (Control of Nature)
Diane B. Paul - 1995-11-01
Goodreads Rating
was called, became a popular movement that sought to create a healthier and superior human race. However, Diane B. Paul's book tells the chilling story of how this movement ultimately led to atrocities such as forced sterilization and even genocide. She explores the ethics and scientific principles that underpinned eugenics, and the ways in which it was used to justify persecuting minority groups. This thought-provoking book challenges readers to confront the dark history of eugenics and to reflect on its continuing legacy in modern society.
Alex Wellerstein
@jaivirdi @pal8g2015 My favorite intro book on it is Diane Paul's Controlling Human Heredity — it's slim, thoughtful, critical.      source
Three Mile Island book cover
Three Mile Island
A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective
J. Samuel Walker - 2006-01-10 (first published in 2004)
Goodreads Rating
A gripping account of the worst commercial nuclear power accident in US history: Three Mile Island. J. Samuel Walker weaves a tale of the human drama surrounding the crisis, the debates over nuclear power, and the social, technical, and political issues it raised. With a moment-by-moment account of the accident, readers will gain a clear understanding of the events that unfolded and the players involved. Walker also explores the aftermath and long-term health effects on the surrounding area. This book provides an authoritative account of a critical event in recent American history.