Nuclear history bibliography, 2013

by Alex Wellerstein, published January 6th, 2014

It’s that time again. With the New Year comes new lists, and like I did last year, I’ve tried to put together a bibliography of nuclear history scholarship that was published over the course of the year. All of the same caveats about completeness and inclusion apply — it has to be something primarily about the past, it has to be more or less a work of “history” relating to nuclear technology (I’ve left out a lot of quantitative political science because while it can be quite interesting, I’m not sure it is history), and it had to have been published in 2013. I haven’t tried to track down chapters in books (sorry) or most web-only content (which means I’ve omitted the great stuff on Able Archer 83 that the National Security Archive published, but such is life).

"Any books on atomic power?" From the New York Times Book Review, November 18, 1945.

“Any books on atomic power?” New York Times Book Review, November 18, 1945.

Looking at the list, I don’t see any obvious trends from the titles alone. Last year was the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, so that was the one obvious trend there. This year, I don’t see anything that stands out (other than sampling issues like the fact that the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ran an issue on nuclear culture).

I‘m sure there is much missing — so please leave me a note below in the comments section, or send me an e-mail, if you know of something that might belong here, and if I think it meets my (somewhat loose) criteria I’ll add it to the list.

As an aside, it would be great if other scholars out there would produce similar lists for their own sub-fields! It takes a lot less time than one might imagine (hooray for academic search engines), and is a great way to get a quick survey of all of those things that you didn’t know you had missed.


Brown, Kate. Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Creager, Angela. Life Atomic: A History of Radioisotopes in Science and Medicine. University of Chicago Press, 2013.

Farmelo, Graham. Churchill’s Bomb: How the United States Overtook Britain in the First Nuclear Arms Race. Basic Books, 2013.

Foertsch, Jacqueline. Reckoning Day: Race, Place, and the Atom Bomb in Postwar America. Vanderbilt University Press, 2013.

Frederickson, Kari. Cold War Dixie: Militarization and Modernization in the American South. University of Georgia Press, 2013.

Freedman, Lawrence. Strategy: A History. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Hamblin, Jacob Darwin. Arming Mother Nature: The Birth of Catastrophic Environmentalism. Oxford University Press, 2013.

Hill, C.N. An Atomic Empire: A Technical History of the Rise and Fall of the British Atomic Energy Programme. Imperial College Press, 2013.

Kiernan, Denise. The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II. Simon & Schuster, 2013.

Krupar, Shiloh R. Hot Spotter’s Report: Military Fables of Toxic Waste. University of Minn. Press, 2013.

Lanouette, William with Bela Silard. Genius in the shadows: A biography of Leo Szilard, the man behind the bomb. [Revised edn.] Skyhorse Publishing, 2013.

Lavine, Matthew. The First Atomic Age: Scientists, Radiations, and the American Public, 1895-1945. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Melosi, Martin V. Atomic Age America. Pearson, 2013.

Monk, Ray. Robert Oppenheimer: A Life Inside the Center. Doubleday, 2013.

Phalkey, Jahnavi. Atomic State: Big Science in Twentieth-Century India. Permanent Black, 2013.

Ramana, M.V. The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India. Viking, 2013.

Schewe, Phillip F. Maverick Genius: The Pioneering Odyssey of Freeman Dyson. St. Martin’s Press, 2013.

Schlosser, Eric. Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety. Penguin, 2013.

Slayton, Rebecca. Arguments that Count: Physics, Computing, and Missile Defense, 1949-2012. MIT Press, 2013.

Sokolski, Henry D. , and Bruno Tertrais. Nuclear Weapons Security Crises: What Does History Teach? Strategic Studies Institute, 2013.

Seed, David. Under the Shadow: The Atomic Bomb and Cold War Narratives. Kent State University Press, 2013.

Wilson, Ward. Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Wolfe, Audra J. Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War AmericaJohns Hopkins University Press, 2013.


Alvarez, Robert. “Uranium Mining and the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program.” Public Interest Report 66, no. 4 (Fall 2013).

Broughner, Kerry. “Art and nuclear culture.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 6 (November/December 2013).

Dennis, Michael A. “Tacit Knowledge as a Factor in the Proliferation of WMD: The Example of Nuclear Weapons.” Studies in Intelligence 57, No. 3 (Extracts, September 2013).

Dvorak, Darrell. “The First Atomic Bomb Mission: Trinity B-29 Operations Three Weeks Before Hiroshima.”Air Power History 60, no. 4 (Winter 2013).

Gallagher, Carole. “Nuclear photography: Making the invisible visible.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 6 (November/December 2013).

Gainor, Christopher. “The Atlas and the Air Force: Reassessing the Beginnings of America’s First Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.” Technology and Culture 54, no. 2 (April 2013).

Gerson, Michael S. “The Origins of Strategic Stability: The United States and Surprise Attack.” In Strategic Stability: Contending Interpretations, edited by Elbridge Colby and Gerson. Strategic Studies Institute, 2013.

Gheorghe, Eliza. “Atomic Maverick: Romania’s negotiations for nuclear technology, 1964–1970.” Cold War History 13, no. 3 (2013).

Harrison, Henrietta. “Popular Responses to the Atomic Bomb in China 1945–1955.” Past and Present 218, no. 1 (2013).

Harrell, Eben and David E. Hoffmann. “Plutonium Mountain: Inside the 17-Year Mission to Secure a Legacy of Soviet Nuclear Testing.” Report, Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School (August 2013).

Harris, Ian M. and Charles F. Howlett. “‘Duck and cover’: The evolution of peace education at the beginning of the nuclear age.” Journal of Peace Education 10, no. 2 (2013).

Hargittai, Istvan. “Los Alamos and ‘Los Arzamas.’” Structural Chemistry 24, no. 5 (October 2013).

Hecker, Siegfried S. “The story of Plutonium Mountain.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 5 (September/October 2013).

Hughes, R. Gerald, and Thomas Robb. “Kissinger and the Diplomacy of Coercive Linkage in the ‘Special Relationship’ between the United States and Great Britain, 1969–1977.” Diplomatic History 37, no. 4 (2013).

Hultman, Nathan, and Jonathan Koomey. “Three Mile Island: The driver of US nuclear power’s decline?” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 3 (May/June 2013).

Hymans, Jacques E. C. “The Threat of Nuclear Proliferation: Perception and Reality.” Ethics & International Affairs 27, no. 3 (2013).

Jameson, Robert P. “Armageddon’s Shortening Fuse: How Advances in Nuclear Weapons Technology Pushed Strategists to Mutually Assured Destruction, 1945-1962.” Air Power History 60, no. 1 (Spring 2013).

Jones, Loh, Sato, “Narrating Fukushima: Scales of a Nuclear Meltdown” East Asian Science, Technology, and Society (2013) 7: 601-623.

Jones, Nate. “Countdown to declassification: Finding answers to a 1983 nuclear war scare.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 6 (November/December 2013).

Khlopkov, Anton. “How the United States Helped Iran Build a Laser Enrichment Laboratory.” Nonproliferation Review 20, no. 1 (March 2013).

Komine, Yukinori. “Okinawa Confidential, 1969: Exploring the Linkage between the Nuclear Issue and the Base Issue.” Diplomatic History 37, no. 4 (September 2013).

Lifton, Robert J. “The dimensions of contemporary war and violence: How to reclaim humanity from a continuing revolution in the technology of killing.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 4 (July/August 2013).

Masco, Joseph P. “Terror as normality.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 6 (November/December 2013).

McKellar, Shelley. “Negotiating Risk: The Failed Development of Atomic Hearts in America, 1967-1977.” Technology and Culture 54, no. 1 (January 2013).

Norris, Robert S. “The History of the U.S. Nuclear Stockpile 1945-2013.” Public Interest Report 66, no. 3 (Spring 2013).

Nye, Jr., Joseph S. “From bombs to bytes: Can our nuclear history inform our cyber future?” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 5 (September/October 2013).

Parr, Helen. “‘The Nuclear Myth’: Edward Heath, Europe, and the International Politics of Anglo-French Nuclear Co-Operation 1970–3.” International History Review 35, no. 3 (2013).

Perrow, Charles. “Nuclear denial: From Hiroshima to Fukushima.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 5 (September/October 2013).

Reader, Joseph and Charles W. Clark. “1932, a Watershed Year in Nuclear Physics.” Physics Today 66, no. 3 (March 2013).

Rothschild, Rachel. “Environmental Awareness in the Atomic Age: Radioecologists and Nuclear Technology.” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences 43, no. 4 (September 2013), 492-530.

Singh, Jasjit. “India’s Nuclear Policy: The Year After.” Strategic Analysis 37, no. 6 (2013).

Sylvest, Casper. “Technology and Global Politics: The Modern Experiences of Bertrand Russell and John H. Herz.” International History Review 35, no. 1 (2013).

Tal, David. “‘Absolutes’ and ‘Stages’ in the Making and Application of Nixon’s SALT Policy.” Diplomatic History 37, no. 5 (2013).

Tzeng, Peter. “Nuclear Leverage: US Intervention in Sensitive Technology Transfers in the 1970s.” Nonproliferation Review 20, no. 3 (November 2013).

Veys, Lucy. “Joseph Rotblat: Moral Dilemmas and the Manhattan Project.” Physics in Perspective 15, no. 4 (December 2013).

Volmar, Axel. “Listening to the Cold War: The Nuclear Test Ban Negotiations, Seismology, and Psychoacoustics, 1958–1963.” Osiris 28, No. 1 (January 2013), 80-102.

Wellerstein, Alex. “Bomb Appétit!” Lucky Peach no. 6 (Winter 2013), 144.1

Wellerstein, Alex. “We Don’t Need Another Manhattan Project,” Public Interest Report 66, no. 4 (Fall 2013).

Weiss, Leonard. “The Lavon Affair: How a false-flag operation led to war and the Israeli bomb.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 69, no. 4 (July/August 2013).

Yellen, Jeremy A. “The Specter of Revolution: Reconsidering Japan’s Decision to Surrender.” International History Review 35, no. 1 (2013).

Young, Ken. “Revisiting NSC 68.” Journal of Cold War Studies 15, no. 1 (Winter 2013).

Young, Ken. “Special Weapon, Special Relationship: The Atomic Bomb Comes to Britain.” Journal of Military History 77, no. 2 (April 2013).

Young, Ken. “The Hydrogen Bomb, Lewis L. Strauss and the Writing of Nuclear History.” Journal of Strategic Studies 36, no. 3 (December 2013).

  1. Hey, I write the blog, so I define what’s “scholarly,” right? I’ve put a link to the PDF of this on my articles page for those who are interested. []

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11 Responses to “Nuclear history bibliography, 2013”

  1. Kathy Olesko says:

    Thanks for posting these once again! Here’s a few others:

    Shiloh R. Krupar, Hot Spotter’s Report: Military Fables of Toxic Waste (Minneapolis: University of Minn. Press, 2013)

    Martin V. Melosi, Atomic Age America (Boston: Pearson, 2013)

    Best, Kathy

  2. Mark says:

    Dagnabbit, I already have a reading list over a page long, and now you add more to it!


  3. Peter says:

    If Command and Control were the only book on the list it still would be a very good list. It was one of the better books I’ve read in the past couple years, and I read a lot.

  4. Bradley Laing says:

    —Are those supposed to be Soviet Agents in the cartoon, or (american) bum and an overdressed (american) guy?

  5. Bradley Laing says:

    —notice that one of the Ox Ford shoes seems similar.

  6. Stanley Orman says:

    I am a retired previous Deputy Director of the UK AWRE & have written several articles together with MG ( US Army ret) Eugene Fox on nuclear issues. I have also recently published a book (An Uncivil Civil Servant, available through Amazon) that includes my experiences as Chief Engineer for the development of the UK deterrent Chevaline.

    Our most recent article on nuclear issues was “Does US have an effective deterrent posture?”, Defense News, 8/5/13.

  7. nukeman says:

    Very cool and much appreciated of you to put out this list. There is much more being written than I can keep track of.

  8. […] a rough guide to the state of the field as it is represented in print. The rules are the same as last time and the time before: the boundary of what is being defined as “nuclear history” is a […]