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The Day We Lost the H-bomb

Cold War, Hot Nukes, And The Worst Nuclear Weapons Disaster In History

By Barbara Moran

In The Day We Lost the H-Bomb, science writer Barbara Moran marshals a wealth of new information and recently declassified material to give the definitive account of the Cold War’s biggest nuclear weapons disaster. On January 17, 1966, a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber exploded over the sleepy Spanish farming village of Palomares during a routine airborne refueling. The explosion killed seven airmen and scattered the bomber’s payload–four unarmed thermonuclear bombs–across miles of coastline. Three of the rogue H-bombs were recovered quickly. Tracking down the fourth required the largest search-and-salvage operation in U.S. military history.

Moran traces the roots of the Palomares incident, giving a brief yet in-depth history of the Strategic Air Command and its eccentric, larger-than-life commander, General Curtis LeMay, whose massive deterrence strategy kept armed U.S. bombers aloft at all times. Back on the ground, Moran recounts the myriad social and environmental effects of an accident that spread radioactive debris over hundreds of acres of Spanish farmland, alarmed America’s strategic allies, and damaged Spanish-American diplomatic relations.

As the American military floundered in its attempt to keep the story secret, the events in Spain sometimes took on farcical overtones. Constant global media hype was fueled by the hit James Bond movie Thunderball, with its plot about an atomic weapon lost at sea. In addition, there were the unwanted attentions of a rusty- hulled Soviet surveillance ship and even awkward public relations stunts, complete with American diplomats in swim trunks.

The Day We Lost the H-Bomb is a singular work of military history that effortlessly and dramatically captures Cold War hysteria, high-stakes negotiations, and the race to clean up a disaster of unprecedented scope. At once epic and intimate, this book recounts in stunning detail the fragile peace Americans had made with nuclear weapons–and how the specter of imminent doom forced the United States to consider not only what had happened over Palomares but what could have happened. This forgotten chapter of Cold War history will grip readers with the tension of that time and reawaken the fears and hopes of that dangerous era.


From the Hardcover edition.

Format

Book

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1 available at Main (Downtown)
  • 363.12493 Mor, Nonfiction

ISBN

9780891419044


Format: Book
Author: Moran, Barbara
Title: The day we lost the H-bomb : Cold War, hot nukes, and the worst nuclear weapons disaster in history / Barbara Moran.
Publisher Date: New York : Presidio Press/Ballantine Books, c2009.
Subject: Aircraft accidents -- Spain -- Palomares -- History -- 20th century. Hydrogen bomb -- United States -- History -- 20th century. Airplanes, Military -- Accidents -- United States -- History -- 20th century. Search and rescue operations -- United States -- History -- 20th century. Nuclear accidents -- Spain -- Palomares Region -- History -- 20th century.
Isbn: 9780891419044 (hardcover : alk. paper) 0891419047 (hardcover : alk. paper)
Current Holds: 0
System Items Available: 1
System Items Total: 1
Call Number: 363.12493 Mor
Oclc: 251203972
Upc:
Bib Id: 319849

Format: Book
Author: Moran, Barbara
Title: The day we lost the H-bomb : Cold War, hot nukes, and the worst nuclear weapons disaster in history / Barbara Moran.
Edition: 1st ed.
Publisher, Date: New York : Presidio Press/Ballantine Books, c2009.
Description: xi, 321 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., map ; 25 cm.
Subjects: Aircraft accidents -- Spain -- Palomares -- History -- 20th century.
Subjects: Hydrogen bomb -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Subjects: Airplanes, Military -- Accidents -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Subjects: Search and rescue operations -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Subjects: Nuclear accidents -- Spain -- Palomares Region -- History -- 20th century.
Notes: Includes bibliographical references (p. [223]-250) and index.
LCCN: 2009005359
ISBN: 9780891419044 (hardcover : alk. paper)
ISBN: 0891419047 (hardcover : alk. paper)
Requests: 0
Available Copies: 1
Total Copies: 1
Call Number: 363.12493 Mor