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Absolute power

Richard Rhodes 

THERMONUCLEAR MONARCHY Choosing Between Democracy and Doom Elaine Scarry W W Norton & Company 582 pages; $35 The problem posed by nuclear weapons - that they work by holding their possessors hostage, with the threat of catastrophic retaliation if used - has confounded thinking about them since the beginning of the nuclear age. One of its earliest analysts, the American physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, the first director of the Manhattan Project's Los Alamos laboratory, which developed the atomic bomb, once compared the two dominant nuclear powers of his day and ours, the United ...

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First Published: Sun, March 23 2014. 21:30 IST