A Global History of the Nuclear Arms Race
Weapons, Strategy, and Politics
by Richard Dean Burns and Joseph M. Siracusa
April 2013, 640pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-0094-8
$131, £98, 110€, A188
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-0095-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.
Written by two preeminent authors in the field, this book provides an accessible global narrative of the nuclear arms race since 1945 that focuses on the roles of key scientists, military chiefs, and political leaders.

The first book of its kind to provide a global perspective of the arms race, this two-volume work connects episodes worldwide involving nuclear weapons in a comprehensive, narrative fashion. Beginning with a discussion of the scientific research of the 1930s and 1940s and the Hiroshima decision, the authors focus on five basic themes: political dimensions, technological developments, military and diplomatic strategies, and impact.

The history of the international nuclear arms race is examined within the context of four historical eras: America’s nuclear monopoly, America’s nuclear superiority, superpower parity, and the post-Cold War era. Information about the historical development of the independent deterrence of Britain, France, and China, as well as the piecemeal deterrence of newcomers Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea is also included, as is coverage of the efforts aimed at the international control of nuclear weapons and the diplomatic architecture that underpins the global nuclear non-proliferation regime.


  • Makes the case that nuclear weaponry gradually assumed political stature and came to dominate high-level diplomatic activity
  • Describes inherent problems posed by various delivery systems of nuclear weaponry
  • Draws connections between military strategy and nuclear arms control efforts as well as anti-missile systems
  • Identifies and assesses post-Cold War issues in dealing with nuclear terrorism
Richard Dean Burns, PhD, is professor emeritus at California State University, Los Angeles, CA. The author and editor of numerous books covering arms control, missile defenses, and diplomatic history, Burns has long been involved in preparing reference books, such as the internationally recognized Guide to American Foreign Relations since 1700. He most recently authored Praeger's The Evolution of Arms Control: From Antiquity to the Nuclear Age and The Missile Defense Systems of George W. Bush: A Critical Assessment.

Joseph M. Siracusa, PhD, is professor of human security at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Australia. Siracusa is the author of numerous books, including ABC-CLIO's Reagan, Bush, Gorbachev: Revisiting the End of the Cold War; Real-World Nuclear Deterrence: The Making of International Strategy; and Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction.


"This well-written, detailed work will be especially appropriate for college and university libraries, whose undergraduate and graduate students will benefit a great deal. Summing Up: Highly recommended."—Choice, November 1, 2013

"This two-volume history of the nuclear arms race since the 1930s aims to provide a global perspective rather than focusing on just the US-Soviet contest. The authors emphasize five key themes: political dimensions, technological developments, military and diplomatic strategies, and impact."—International Institute for Strategic Studies, July 28, 2014

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