Weapons of Mass Destruction

An Encyclopedia of Worldwide Policy, Technology, and History

by Eric A. Croddy and James J. Wirtz, Editors
Jeffrey A. Larsen, Managing Editor


The United States has conducted some 900 atomic tests since 1945 and has stockpiled enough smallpox vaccine to inoculate most of the U.S. population. The topic of weapons of mass destruction is perhaps the most controversial subject of our time. Policy debates require understanding of key issues, concepts, and events.

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Cover image for Weapons of Mass Destruction

December 2004


Pages 1050
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Military History/General
  • Hardcover



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    Hardcover: £147.00/160,00€/A$245.00

The first accessible reference to cover the history, context, current issues, and key concepts surrounding biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

A collection of information on everything from aerosols to zones of peace, these two volumes cover historical background, technology, and strategic implications of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, thus providing facts, terms, and context needed to participate in contemporary policy debate. This encyclopedia is the only comprehensive reference dedicated to the three types of weapons of mass destruction.

With over 500 entries arranged alphabetically, volume one covers biological and chemical weapons, while volume two focuses on nuclear weapons. Experts from eight countries cover issues related to these weapons, policies, strategies, technologies, delivery vehicles, arms control concepts, treaties, and key historical figures and locations. Entries are written to make difficult concepts easy to understand by cutting through military and scientific jargon. Students, lay readers, scientists, and government policy makers are provided with the broad range of information needed to place today's policy discussions in proper strategic or historical context.


  • Over 500 A–Z entries written by 95 international experts, organized in two volumes divided by types of weapons
  • Timeline that covers leading political, military, and weapons-specific events since 1945
  • Excerpts from key international documents
  • Combined index (with volume numbers noted) at the end of each volume
  • Includes numerous illustrations and photographs


  • The only comprehensive reference of policies, events, places, technical terms, and historical context regarding weapons of mass destruction
  • Volumes organized by like weapons so each can be used independently to study the topic or weapon of particular interest
  • Alphabetical listings and combined indexing in each volume provide an increased ability to browse and quick access to specific entries
Author Info

Eric A. Croddy is an analyst with U.S. Pacific Command, Pearl Harbor, HI, specializing in Northeast Asia and proliferation. His published works include Chemical and Biological Weapons: A Comprehensive Survey for the Concerned Citizen.

James J. Wirtz, Ph.D., is professor and chair of the Department of National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA, and a senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA. He is coeditor of Planning the Unthinkable: How New Powers Will Use Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons and The Absolute Weapon Revisited.

Jeffrey A. Larsen, Ph.D., is a senior policy analyst with Science Applications International Corporation and president of Larsen Consulting Group, Colorado Springs, CO. He is the editor of Arms Control: Cooperative Security in a Changing Environment and coeditor of Rockets' Red Glare: Missile Defenses and the Future of World Politics.



"The overall quality of this encyclopedia makes it a useful addition to WMD resource collections. Recommended. General readers; undergraduates."Choice

"High school, academic, and military libraries will find this attractively designed and superbly indexed set a major purchase that will likely get repeated use."American Reference Books Annual

"Weapons of Mass Destruction is a valuable resource that will fill a gap in most academic and public library reference collections."Reference & User Services Quarterly

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