Book Hints

A selective mention of books received for review


The development of nuclear energy promises to remain one of the most controversial issues of the 1980s. In Nuclear Reactor Safety: On the History of the Regulatory Process (Madison, Wisc.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1981, 370 pp., $29.50), David Okrent provides both a history of lightwater reactor safety and an informative discussion of the regulatory process that governs nuclear reactor safety. An attempt at objectivity regarding the merits of nuclear energy appears in Nuclear Power in Perspective (New York: Nichols Publishing, 1982, 214 pp., $25.00) by Eric Addinall and Henry Ellington, both experts in the field of nuclear energy. The Necessity for Nuclear Power (London: Graham and Trotman, 1981, 250 pp., US distribution by Crane, Russak & Co., New York, $19.00), by Geoffrey Greenhalgh, offers an unequivocally positive assessment of nuclear power. Of particular interest is Greenhalgh's discussion of nuclear power in relation to developing countries and communist states, as well as the United States and Western Europe.

Another book written from an international perspective is Bertrand Goldschmidt's The Atomic Complex: A Worldwide Political History of Nuclear Energy (La Grange Park, Ill.: American Nuclear Society, 1982, 479 pp., $31.00/$24.00), in which the author, a strong advocate of nuclear energy, relates the historical-political interplay that resulted in the development of nuclear energy. Goldschmidt, once an assistant to Marie Curie, eventually became chairman of the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, eminently qualifying him to disclose the intimate details of the struggles to develop nuclear power. Also written from an international perspective is William C. Potter's Nuclear Power and Nonproliferation (Cambridge, Mass.: Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain, 1982, 281 pp., $25.00/$9.95), which provides an analysis of the historical, technical, economic, and political components of the nuclear power and proliferation debate.

Russian Roulette (New York: New York Times Books, 1982, 248 pp., $14.95) presents a unique dialogue between the author, Arthur M. Cox, and Georgy Arbatov, the foremost Soviet expert on the United States and a close advisor to Brezhnev, regarding the nuclear arms race. The author argues that there is no such thing as survival in the event of a superpower nuclear war and proposes a negotiation format to which the Soviet expert responds.

For those interested in other aspects of the Soviet Union, two monographs should be noted. The Institute of Economic Affairs has published an essay by Philip Vander Elst, Capitalist Technology for Soviet Survival (London, 1981, 63 pp., distributed by Transatlantic Books, $5.95 paper), in which the author argues that technology from Western capitalist countries accounts, in large measure, for whatever meager economic progress the Soviet Union has made. In the other monograph, The Peace Movement and the Soviet Union (New York: Orwell Press, 1982, 57 pp., $1.25 paper), Vladimir Bukovsky, a leading Soviet dissident now living in England, contends that peace is impossible while 400 million people in Eastern Europe remain enslaved.

On an entirely different note, those eager to explore the moral issues surrounding the treatment of animals by human beings might wish to pick up Tom Regan's All That Dwell Therein (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1982, 249 pp., $15.95). Regan is the best of the lot writing on this topic, though one might take issue with his predilection toward animals as a kind of altruistic extremism. Regan has also coedited with Donald VanDeVeer And Justice for All: New Introductory Essays in Ethics and Public Policy (Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1982, 310 pp., $29.50/ $10.85), which covers a variety of ethical questions concerning, among other things, paternalism, reverse discrimination, genetic engineering, human rights, and justice. Libertarian thought is explicitly addressed in several of the essays, though the assessment is critical.