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The worlds of Herman Kahn : the intuitive science of thermonuclear war

Author: Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Harvard University Press, 2005.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Herman Kahn was the only nuclear strategist in America who might have made a living as a standup comedian. Indeed, galumphing around stages across the country, joking his way through one grotesque thermonuclear scenario after another, he came frighteningly close. In telling the story of Herman Kahn, whose 1960 book On Thermonuclear War catapulted him into celebrity, Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi captures an era that is  Read more...
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Named Person: Herman Kahn; Herman Kahn; Herman (Mathematiker) Kahn; Herman Kahn
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi
ISBN: 0674017145 9780674017146
OCLC Number: 56671863
Description: 387 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Prologue: a matter of faith --
How many Kahns can there be? --
The cold war avant-garde at RAND --
The real Dr. Strangelove --
An operational but undetected capability --
How to build a world with artful intuition --
Faith and insight in war-gaming --
The mineshaft gap --
On thermonuclear war --
Comedy of the yunspeakable --
Mass murder or the spirit of humanism? --
Epilogue: a comic philosophy --
Abbreviations.
Responsibility: Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi.

Abstract:

"Herman Kahn was the only nuclear strategist in America who might have made a living as a standup comedian. Indeed, galumphing around stages across the country, joking his way through one grotesque thermonuclear scenario after another, he came frighteningly close. In telling the story of Herman Kahn, whose 1960 book On Thermonuclear War catapulted him into celebrity, Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi captures an era that is still very much with us - a time whose innocence, gruesome nuclear humor, and outrageous but deadly serious visions of annihilation have their echoes in the "known unknowns and unknown unknowns" that guide policymakers in our own embattled world." "Portraying a life that combined aspects of Lenny Bruce, Hitchcock, and Kubrick, Ghamari-Tabrizi presents not one Herman Kahn, but many - one who spoke the suffocatingly dry argot of the nuclear experts, another whose buffoonery conveyed the ingenious absurdity of it all, an countless others who capered before the public, ambiguous, baffling, always open to interpretation. This, then, is a story of one thoroughly strange and captivating man as well as a cultural history of our moment."--BOOK JACKET.

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"One of the smartest, most engaging and informed Cold War studies I've read." - Michael Sherry"

 
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