SCARCELY a week passes without a new contribution to the nuclear debate. I regret therefore that in a roundup of this kind, I have ,little option but to make passing reference to most of the "nuke" books that have reached my desk in the past few months.
Regular readers of the Herald will recall Paul Rogers' column Lifestyle. Dr Rogers, with Dr Malcolm Dando and Dr Peter Van Den Dungen, all members of the School of Peace studies at Bradford University, have written a decidedly useful practical book: As Lambs to the Slaughter. (Arrow Books/Ecoropa £1.75).
The authors warn of the increasing probability of a nuclear war devastating Europe within the next decade. Yet for all their gloomy forecasts, they stress the hope that can be generated for peace if ordinary people just get involved in positive peacemaking efforts.
The book is spiced with a number of witty cartoons — a necessary antidote to the doom and gloom of the subject matter. It makes an excellent reference work on the facts and figures of the actual nuclear arms build-up, including hitherto unpublished material.
Merlin Press has reissued Nuclear Weapons and Christian Conscience. First published in 1961, this edition includes additional material from the 1965 reissue. Written by a number of Catholic authors, including its
editor, Walter Stein, with a foreword by the late Archbishop Thomas Roberts SJ.
Its central submission is that —there is now no moral alternative to an unconditional renunciation of 'the deterrent'.
Also from Merlin Press comes the new, and already much acclaimed Beyond the Cold War by E P Thompson. It is, in fact, a development of the would-be Dimbleby lecture which the BBC disallowed. At 60p this 36 page booklet is a "must". It puts the cold war and the increasing accumulation of nuclear weaponry into brilliant historic perspective, and concludes that the Cold War feeds off itself; it is needed by the military and the security services, with all the resultant dangers to peace.
British Nuclear Weapons: For and Against by Jeff McMahan (Junction Books £3.95) is another excellent piece of conceptual analysis. I would not entirely agree with the publisher that the book is written "without bias" since the case against nuclear weapons is evident throughout the book.
Dervla Murphy's book Race to the Finish (John Murray £5.95) is largely about nuclear energy and its dangers, though she has the sense to see the essential connection between atomic energy and the arms race. Her book is extremely readable.