By Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi

ISBN-10: 0674017145

ISBN-13: 9780674017146

Herman Kahn used to be the single nuclear strategist in the United States who may need made a dwelling as a standup comic. certainly, galumphing round levels around the state, joking his approach via one gruesome thermonuclear state of affairs after one other, he got here frighteningly shut. In telling the tale of Herman Kahn, whose 1960 e-book On Thermonuclear warfare catapulted him into star, Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi captures an period that remains a great deal with us--a time whose innocence, ugly nuclear humor, and outrageous yet lethal severe visions of annihilation have their echoes within the "known unknowns and unknown unknowns" that advisor policymakers in our personal embattled world.

Portraying a lifestyles that mixed elements of Lenny Bruce, Hitchcock, and Kubrick, Ghamari-Tabrizi provides now not one Herman Kahn, yet many--one who spoke the suffocatingly dry argot of the nuclear specialists, one other whose buffoonery conveyed the creative absurdity of all of it, and numerous others who capered sooner than the general public, ambiguous, baffling, consistently open to interpretation. This, then, is a narrative of 1 completely unusual and alluring guy in addition to a cultural background of our second. In Herman Kahn's global is a serious lesson approximately how chilly conflict analysts discovered to fill within the ciphers of strategic uncertainty, and therefore how we as a state discovered to dwell with the principally creative caliber of process, within which uncertainty generates extravagant possibility scenarios.

Revealing the metaphysical in the back of the dryly planned, it seems that sensible dialogue of nuclear process, this publication depicts the production of a global the place shrewdpermanent males type whatever out of Nothing--and establishes Herman Kahn as our first virtuoso of the unknown unknowns.

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Additional info for The Worlds of Herman Kahn: The Intuitive Science of Thermonuclear War

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We can begin to construe the fantasies, pangs, and political ideas that attached themselves to Kahn How Many Kahns Can There Be? 23 in 1961 by sounding the undercurrent of faith that sustained domestic life in these years. ” In the summer of 1957, more than two million people found themselves worshipping Jesus Christ in the streets, pavilions, and lecture halls of New York City. The city’s unexpected appetite for mass evangelism set attendance records, surpassing the circus, baseball playoffs, and world championship boxing as the most sought-after spectacle in its history.

Their work to think about military . . ” Another counselor advised the restitution of American pluck with a savage collective shake. ” he roared. First, “we must realize how silly it is and stop running scared . . ’ to each other in the dark, we . . ” Take refuge in one another, he prodded, “person to person, group to group . . Only the reality of such acceptance and understanding . . ”44 The same authors whisked out the most prosaic of consolations. Fosdick cheered the thirty new playgrounds planned for the children of New York City, the astronomers of Mount Palomar who yet peered at the heavens, the scholars at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens who scraped at the ruins of the Agora.

I only know that much of the world . . grows increasingly difficult to decipher or . . make sense of,” confessed a scholar. “All too many things . . contradict our . . assumptions; . . ” The mood persisted in 1953. An observer writing for Commonweal called it Gotterdammerung: “What now calls for . . cure is the contagious mood of universal discouragement spread on every side by a host of Giants of Despair . . the Defeatists, the . . sad of mind and sick of heart, the current prophets of inevitable .

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The Worlds of Herman Kahn: The Intuitive Science of Thermonuclear War by Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi

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