2017, Simon and Schuster.
When we think about the unthinkable, nuclear war, and how we got into the fix we’re in, we often think of Albert Einstein unlocking the keys of the cosmos, Robert Oppenheimer leading the way to building the bomb, with General Groves above him, and Edward Teller the Super (the hydrogen bomb) after him. But we should know the life and thinking of James B. Conant, who with Vannevar Bush was one of the chief science advisors to the President. Conant, who led Harvard during the war as well, was also a prime mover in opening up higher education to the less-advantaged, an important force in helping America see and rise up to the threat of Nazi takeover, and an articulate defender of democratic principles. Conant was not the cold-hearted war-monger we might assume, given the military horror that nuclear war is (he also developed chemical weapons). He regarded these weapons as defensive, and resisted the temptation to use them in other ways, a temptation we see in our current President’s threats, and in those who make millions or gain political power from defense over-expenditure.