Cover of Bomb Power

Bomb Power

The Modern Presidency and the National Security State

Garry Wills

Erik Baker summarizes Willis' concept of "bomb power" succinctly in The Baffler:

the way that the very existence of the United States’ nuclear arsenal fundamentally constrains the possibility of exercising democratic oversight of the nation’s military. The power to annihilate all human civilization cannot sanely be disposed of by popular vote. The bomb is a weapon suited only to a benevolent dictator, and that is how the United States came to envision the presidency in the nuclear age—culturally, politically, and even legally. Autocracy, of course, was easier to produce than benevolence. The bomb demands secrecy; secrecy demands lying; and lying demands lawlessness.

Added:  12/27/2023

Book Info

Penguin (2011), 278 pages
ISBN/EAN Product Code
Publisher Description

Assesses the role of the atomic bomb in altering the nature of American democracy, tracing the secrecy of the Manhattan Project, the ways the bomb changed the institution of the presidency, and the state of war alert that has existed since its invention. (Publisher's Description)

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