Humane and highly readable, this book concerns a black subject: the destruction of humanity (or a good chunk of it).
The cobalt bomb, an H-bomb whose effect was immeasurably intensified when surrounded by cobalt, was conceived in 1950 by Leo Szilard as a warning about the arms race. Smith explores the implications of this suggestion from the satire of Dr Strangelove to the entirely serious proposals of Edward "Mr H-Bomb" Teller. This "super-salesman" for nuclear weaponry even advocated their use for excavating har-bours. The fallout was "no more dangerous than being an ounce overweight"
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