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    • June 2015
    • 9780231164054
  • 280 Pages
  • Paperback
  • $18.95
  • / £12.95


    • November 2013
    • 9780231164047
  • 280 Pages
  • Hardcover
  • $26.95
  • / £18.95


    • November 2013
    • 9780231535762
  • 280 Pages
  • E-book
  • $25.99
  • / £18.00

Nuclear Nightmares

Securing the World Before It Is Too Late

Joseph Cirincione

There is a high risk that someone will use, by accident or design, one or more of the 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. Many thought such threats ended with the Cold War or that current policies can prevent or contain nuclear disaster. They are dead wrong--these weapons, possessed by states large and small, stable and unstable, remain an ongoing nightmare.

Joseph Cirincione surveys the best thinking and worst fears of experts specializing in nuclear warfare and assesses the efforts to reduce or eliminate these nuclear dangers. His book offers hope: in the 1960s, twenty-three states had nuclear weapons and research programs; today, only nine states have weapons. More countries have abandoned nuclear weapon programs than have developed them, and global arsenals are just one-quarter of what they were during the Cold War. Yet can these trends continue, or are we on the brink of a new arms race--or worse, nuclear war? A former member of Senator Obama's nuclear policy team, Cirincione helped shape the policies unveiled in Prague in 2009, and, as president of an organization intent on reducing nuclear threats, he operates at the center of debates on nuclear terrorism, new nuclear nations, and the risks of existing arsenals.

About the Author

Joseph Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, and the author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats. He serves on the secretary of state's International Security Advisory Board and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Please visit his web site at

Cirincione lucidly provides a greater understanding of the threats still posed by the 17,000 nuclear weapons in the world, the risk of their use and analyzes the efforts to reduce and eliminate these threats. He also provides an original contribution in its analysis of the debate surrounding the nuclear policy of the Obama administration.

Lawrence Korb, Center for American Progress

Everyone in this world needs to be aware of the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, and also to realize that progress is possible. The record of achievement is there and the path to a better future can be identified. Joe Cirincione has been part of this unfolding story, and this book will help advance the effort on which he and so many of us have worked so hard.

George P. Shultz, 60th Secretary of State

Joe Cirincione is a clear-eyed, straight-talking, highly influential sage on the spread of nuclear weaponry and the imperative for the U.S. to lead the global effort in blunting this existential danger to the planet. In his latest book, he assesses the chances for progress in arms control between Presidents Obama and Putin, analyzes the latest ominous developments in Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea, lays out practical steps for American policy, and recommends ways for citizens to engage in the cause of nonproliferation.

Strobe Talbott, President of the Brookings Institution

In Nuclear Nightmares, Joe Cirincione presents a thorough, honest, and balanced view of the challenges to our security that nuclear weapons and fissile materials present to us today and the dangers that will emerge in the future. He implores us all to become knowledgeable, engage with our national leaders, and participate in the decisions that will so significantly affect our future. If you read only one book on this issue, this is the one.

William J. Perry, 19th Secretary of Defense

Joe Cirincione is our nation's best communicator and clarion advocate on reducing the threat of nuclear weapons. Nuclear Nightmares should be required reading for every Beltway journalist, every student of policy, and everyone who can't quite get their head around the thousands of nuclear bombs we're maintaining right now, ready to launch, even though no one can quite explain why on earth we would ever launch them.

At the risk of undermining the title itself, Nuclear Nightmares will not actually give you nightmares. It will make you see that our giant, supposedly intractable nuclear problem is solvable, now, in this generation. A fascinating and vital book

Rachel Maddow, Host of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show

Cirincione's gripping, harrowing account of the arms race debate is essential reading for those concerned with a fickle world prone to threats and terrorism.

IntroductionPart I. Policy1. Promise2. Legacy3. PivotPart II. Nightmares4. Arsenals and Accidents5. Calculating Armageddon6. Exploding Budgets7. The 95 Percent8. The Most Dangerous Country on EarthPart III. Solutions9. Posture and Proliferation10. The End of Proliferation11. FoundationsAppendix A. Remarks by President Barack ObamaAppendix B. Statement by President Barack Obama on the Release of Nuclear Posture ReviewAppendix C. Remarks by President Barack Obama at the United Nations Security Council Summit on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear DisarmamentAppendix D. Excerpts from President Barack Obama's State of the Union AddressAppendix E. Remarks by President Barack Obama at New START Treaty Signing CeremonyAppendix F. Ploughshares FundAcknowledgmentsNotesIndex

Read the introduction to Nuclear Nightmares