Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace by Michael Krepon [8/10]

Influential arms control practitioner and expert, and co-founder of the Stimson Center, Michael Krepon has now authored his life-defining masterpiece, “Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace: The Rise, Demise, and Revival of Arms Control.” At once a comprehensive history of nuclear arms control, a character-based blow-by-blow account of the epochal arms control agreements that have been struck, and a fervent plea for a return to formal negotiating with Russia (and now China), Krepon’s book will surely be required reading in universities for decades. Positioning arms control as the necessary partner of deterrence theory, the author makes a thoroughly convincing case for the efficacy and necessity for patient diplomacy (backed by wise leadership) to throttle the existential risk of nuclear warfare. The author is an engaging stylist who seems to have interviewed everyone possible, and he keeps a firm narrative grip on what is really an beguiling grand fable. Perhaps Winning and Losing the Nuclear Peace is not for everyone—if you’ve never heard of START, you’ll need to concentrate—but anyone sinking into this absorbing, exciting, essential book will come out at the end both chastened (the ongoing risks!) and heartened (for heaven’s sake, Ronald Reagan is a hero!).

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