Nuclear Fear (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
If the outpouring of words on a topic bears some proportionality to the depth of emotion of the writers, then nuclear energy has certainly touched many people deeply. The massive numbers of articles and books on nuclear matters bear eloquent witness to the concern that nuclear issues have raised. Seeing these mountains of material, a person might reasonably ask: Can anything new be said? Spencer Weart thinks so. Despite other works that have explored the cultural history of nuclear weapons, Weart believes that he can set this history into a new framework of universal psychological symbols predating nuclear energy’s discovery. In the twentieth century these symbols helped shape the social history of nuclear energy.
Weart’s training as a physicist and historian of science admirably prepared him for his task. Born in 1942, he grew up in Larchmont, New York. His studies in physics at Cornell University and the University of Colorado led to a doctorate in astrophysics; after postdoctoral work on a solar telescope at the California Institute of Technology, he went to the University of California at Berkeley to study the history of science. He serves as director of the Center for the History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics in New York City. His previous works include Scientists in Power (1979), a study of the origin of nuclear energy in France.
The main theme of Nuclear Fear: A History of Images is that many...
(The entire section is 2533 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
Booklist. LXXXIV, April 1, 1988, p. 1295.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. XLIV, November, 1988, p. 42.
Chicago Tribune. May 4, 1988, V, p. 3.
Choice. XXVI, September, 1988, p. 154.
The Christian Science Monitor. June 3, 1988, p. B1.
Kirkus Reviews. LVI, March 15, 1988, p. 444.
Library Journal. CXIII, May 1, 1988, p. 83.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. May 15, 1988, p. 4.
The New York Times. CXXXVII, April 29, 1988, p. C37.
The New York Times Book Review. XCIII, May 1, 1988, p. 1.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXXIII, April 1, 1988, p. 69.
Science. CCXL, May 20, 1988, p. 1051.
(The entire section is 71 words.)