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The Nuclear Club: How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam, Jonathan R. Hunt

Reviewed by Rebecca Davis Gibbons
 

Jonathan R. Hunt’s The Nuclear Club: How America and the World Policed the Atom from Hiroshima to Vietnam provides a sweeping world history of early efforts to control nuclear arms. Anyone interested in studying this historical period, or the nuclear age more specifically, should find much to like in Hunt’s detailed archival analysis.

In The Nuclear Club, the world’s superpowers strive to maintain an exclusive group of nuclear-armed states to prevent the spread of the bomb. They do so to preserve military nuclear capabilities for themselves and ensure these weapons will not advantage less powerful states. The result is a captivating tale of multilateral diplomacy involving great powers, their allies, and nonaligned states.

At the outset, it is important to acknowledge that Hunt makes a novel contribution to nuclear scholarship. While there are histories and memoirs of the negotiations of the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), the Latin American Nuclear Weapons Free Zone, and the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Hunt’s book is especially useful in placing these negotiations in a global historical context, particularly when it comes to cold war priorities, decolonization, and the rise of the United States as a global-order maker.

Hunt’s history demonstrates how the cold war

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