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Churchill and the Bomb in War and Cold War

Kevin Ruane



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26 July 2018
History; British & Irish history; 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000; The Cold War; Second World War; Nuclear weapons
Covering the development of the atomic bomb during the Second World War, the origins and early course of the Cold War, and the advent of the hydrogen bomb in the early 1950s, Churchill and the Bomb explores a still neglected aspect of Winston Churchill's career - his relationship with and thinking on nuclear weapons. Kevin Ruane shows how Churchill went from regarding the bomb as a weapon of war in the struggle with Nazi Germany to viewing it as a weapon of communist containment (and even punishment) in the early Cold War before, in the 1950s, advocating and arguably pioneering what would become known as mutually assured destruction as the key to preventing the Cold War flaring into a calamitous nuclear war. While other studies of Churchill have touched on his evolving views on nuclear weapons, few historians have given this hugely important issue the kind of dedicated and sustained treatment it deserves. In Churchill and the Bomb, however, Kevin Ruane has undertaken extensive primary research in Britain, the United States and Europe, and accessed a wide array of secondary literature, in producing an immensely readable yet detailed, insightful and provocative account of Churchill's nuclear hopes and fears.
By:   Kevin Ruane
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 156mm, 
Weight:   640g
ISBN:   9781472530806
ISBN 10:   1472530802
Pages:   424
Publication Date:   26 July 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  General/trade ,  ELT Advanced ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Acknowledgements Abbreviations used in text Introduction: So Many Winston Churchills Part I: War 1. Only Connect 2. Tube Alloys 3. Allies at War 4. The Quebec Agreement 5. Mortal Crimes 6. Bolsheviks, Bombs and Bad Omens 7. Trinity and Potsdam Part II: Cold War 8. Heavy Metal, Iron Curtain 9. Warmonger/Peacemonger 10. To the Summit 11. Atomic Angles 12. Hurricane Warning 13. A Pill to End it All 14. H-bomb Fever 15. The July Days 16. Sturdy Child of Terror Conclusion: '... if God wearied of mankind' Abbreviations used in notes Bibliography Index

Kevin Ruane is Professor of Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK.

Reviews for Churchill and the Bomb in War and Cold War

[An] astute chronicle of a long overlooked aspect of Churchill's service to Great Britain ... Ruane makes a compelling case for the atomic bomb as both a military and a diplomatic instrument, as seen from the perspective of a power vulnerable to Soviet devastation a decade earlier than the United States ... Kevin Ruane has refined our understanding of a towering figure of the twentieth century. * Michigan War Studies Review * [Ruane] has identified a lacuna in the vast literature about a very great (if flawed), much-studied man, and he has filled it admirably, producing a thoroughly researched and carefully constructed historical monograph. * Journal of Modern History * If you thought there was nothing fresh to say about Winston Churchill, the look at Kevin Ruane's tremendously assured Churchill and the Bomb which has new things to say both about the great man himself and the diplomatic climate of the 1940s and 1950s. * A Book of the Year, BBC History * Excellent ... Thorough in its analysis and scrupulously fair in its judgments. * A Book of the Year, Times Higher Education * A hugely impressive analysis of Churchill's relationship with peaceful and military nuclear fission ... There have been books on this subject before, but Kevin Ruane's is the best of them and has the huge advantage of making complicated scientific theories easily explicable to the layman ... [The subject] makes for gripping reading in Ruane's capable hands. * Literary Review * There are times when books appear whose insights have specific resonance, helping to create a greater understanding of world events than before. Kevin Ruane's profound analysis of the changing nature of the relationship between Winston Churchill and the development of the atomic bomb provides an example. * Military History Monthly * Kevin Ruane's Churchill and the Bomb is a work of impeccable scholarship, based on a profound study of many primary sources. It cannot be recommended too highly. * Twentieth-Century British History * This is an important addition to the Churchill literature, filling a what we can now know-thanks to declassification of documents on both sides of the Atlantic-about a crucial period, especially the postwar jockeying for national position in the growing Cold War. * Finest Hour: Journal of the International Churchill Society * Big man. Big weapon. Big theme. Kevin Ruane blends all three in a fascinating and fluent fusion! * Peter Hennessy, Attlee Professor of Contemporary British History, Queen Mary, University of London, UK, author of Cabinets and the Bomb * Kevin Ruane has taken as his subject Winston Churchill, a well-worn protagonist, dealing with a lesser-known subject, nuclear weapons, and produced an original, compelling study which hands the reader a real page-turner. * Kathleen Burk, University College London, UK, author of Old World, New World: the Story of Britain and America * This masterly account is a very important addition to the Churchill literature ... By putting Churchill's atomic diplomacy into its wider context, Kevin Ruane illuminates one of the most vital issues of our times: the origins of the first weapons of Mass Destruction and the dilemmas that they pose for humanity. This book is scholarly yet easy to read and will appeal to all those interested in the period. * Richard Toye, University of Exeter, UK, author of Churchill's Empire: the World that Made him and the World He Made * Kevin Ruane's study of Churchill's engagement with nuclear issues combines the in-depth knowledge of the Historian with a lucid writing style that readers will find highly informative and engaging. He has accessed a wide range of archives to tell a fascinating story that delves into nuclear science, great power diplomacy, British political history and the towering figure of Churchill himself. * John Young, Nottingham University, UK, author of Winston Churchill's Last Campaign: Britain and the Cold War 1951-1955 * Carefully researched and marvellously detailed, Kevin's Ruane's Churchill and the Bomb is a major historical contribution that reveals new insights about the role of nuclear weapons during the early Cold War, as well as a deeper understanding of Britain's most important 20th century statesman. * Martin J. Sherwin, author (with Kai Bird) of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer * With the aid of fresh insights and first-class scholarship, Kevin Ruane has written a lively reappraisal of Churchill's ever-changing nuclear policies, and the enduring puzzle of his transition from warmonger to prophet of detente. Churchill and the Bomb is important both as a critical portrait of Churchill in old age, and as a contribution to the history of international relations. * Paul Addison, University of Edinburgh, author of Churchill: The Unexpected Hero * In his excellent study Ruane describes three incarnations of Churchill and nuclear weapons during the period 1941 to 1955: the atomic bomb-maker, the atomic diplomatist, and the nuclear peace-maker ... Churchill and the Bomb in War and Cold War is a well-researched, detailed, and comprehensive study of Churchill and nuclear weapons. * A Blog on Winston Churchill *

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