The Fate of the Earth

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The Fate of the Earth

By Jonathan Schell
Knopf, 1982
244 pp. $11.95
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It may be true, as one reviewer has written, that this book about the end of the planet is working its way into the national psyche. Certainly it has been an important contributor to the nuclear-freeze debate and the support for "Ground Zero." To the extent that it is intended to force readers-many of them perhaps for the first time-to confront the horrors of a nuclear conflagration, it does its job extremely well. Yet Schell provides no realistic alternative to our nuclear policy based on the concept of deterrence. His argument-that the knowledge that nuclear weapons can extinguish mankind must be the new deterrent in a disarmed world-is very weak. Are there not psychological and political dangers to tearing down current deterrence policy without offering a suitable replacement?

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