In This Review

Real-World Nuclear Deterrence: The Making of International Strategy
Real-World Nuclear Deterrence: The Making of International Strategy
By David G. Coleman and Joseph M. Siracusa
Praeger Security, 2006, 184 pp
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Not much has been left unsaid about the nuclear strategy of the past six decades, and with so much theory and practice to cover, not too much should be expected from a short survey. But Coleman and Siracusa argue that this matter has been discussed with too much jargon and not enough attention to the actual processes through which policy has been formed and political leaders influenced. The book does a good job of taking the reader through the big (and largely Anglo-American) debates on nuclear policy -- from containment, through massive retaliation and flexible response, and on to contemporary questions of proliferation. It lingers more on the earlier decades than on the later ones, with a strong focus on John F. Kennedy's presidency. There may be little new here for the specialist, but the approach is fresh and lively.