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Amchitka and the Bomb
Nuclear Testing in Alaska
Dean W. Kohlhoff  

$30.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 11/1/2002
ISBN: 9780295982557    


176 Pages

Canadian rights only.
Distributed for University of Washington Press



OTHER WAYS TO ORDER

About the Book

More than a quarter-century has now passed since the United States set off the last of three underground atomic blasts in the remote wilderness of the Aleutian islands, off the coast of Alaska. Cannikin, as this third test was called, exploded as planned on November 6, 1971, on Amchitka Island. The first test, Project Long Shot (1965), was designed to determine whether the blast's shock waves could be distinguished from earthquakes. Milrow, the second (1969), and Cannikin were part of the U.S. anti-ballistic missile development program.

Amchitka and the Bomb looks at how these nuclear explosions were planned and conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Atomic Energy Commission, in spite of vehement protests by political and civilian groups. In addition to demonstrating the feasibility of a new generation of weapons, the government defended the nuclear tests on Amchitka as providing U.S. presidents, and especially Richard Nixon, with negotiating power to force the Soviet Union to accept a satisfactory arms limitation agreement.

Dean Kohlhoff traces the enormous environmental impact of the blasts on the Aleutian wildlife refuge system. He also examines the social and political fallout from the tests on Aleut civilian populations. As the tests inexorably went forward, an emerging environmental movement was galvanized to action. Passionate but ultimately futile attempts to stop the blasts were made by such nascent groups as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Wilderness Society. Although Alaskan Aleuts sued to halt Cannikin and environmental groups joined them for an injunction against the test, a split U.S. Supreme Court eventually approved the 5.1-megaton explosion.

Amchitka and the Bomb tells a harrowing story of the struggle of private citizens and small environmental groups to counter the weight of the federal government. It adds immeasurably to our understanding of the nuclear history of the United States. Its concise interweaving of the military, scientific, economic, and social implications surrounding the nuclear explosions on Amchitka Island exposes the unpleasant consequences of allowing treasured national values to become victim to political necessity. Kohlhoff has contributed a vital chapter to Alaska's history and to the history of the American environmental movement.


About the Author(s)

Dean Kohlhoff (1933 - 1997) was a professor of history at Valparaiso University in Indiana for 30 years. His other publications include When the Wind Was a River, the story of the military evacuation of Aleut residents of Attu Island in World War II.


Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface

Among the Many Islands
On an Anvil of War
Before a Mighty Windstorm
Nuclear Alaska
Under Rufus and Larkspur Scrutiny
During a Long Shot
Through Milrow Calibration
For Safeguard Security
Amid More Cannikin Controversy
Beyond the Last Bomb

Notes
Index


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Sample Chapter

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Related Topics

Environmental Studies
History > Military
History


Other Ways To Order

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