The Seventh Decade: The New Shape of Nuclear Danger.
Metropolitan Books, 272 pages, $24
During the nuclear freeze movement of the 1980s, Jonathan Schell became well known for his detailed arguments calling for global nuclear disarmament. His latest plea updates the narrative of the earlier Fate of the Earth and The Abolition, by now warning us that seventy years into the nuclear age the nightmare of “The Bomb” is growing in ways far more dangerous than even during the Cold War American-Soviet stand-off.
The argument is again well-written, often passionate, and takes a new tack in praising the efforts of Ronald Reagan—the book’s unlikely hero-prophet—at the 1986 Reykjavik Summit where he tried to convince Mikhail Gorbachev to help him rid the world of nuclear arms. Schell’s good Reagan came to his senses late in his administration, only after the...