This is the third volume of an epic work. The first two One World or None and Resisting the Bomb covered antinuclear activity worldwide up to 1970. Now, the detailed, fascinating pages of Toward Nuclear Abolition take us almost up to the present day. The scholarship is clear. There are nearly 100 pages of references at the end, as well as a bibliography, an index, and an explanation of abbreviations. . . .
Every group should buy at least a paperback copy and circulate it among their members. It should also be put on the “please buy” hardback list at all local libraries. We need to take the long view of our work, and we need our share of encouragement. This substantial volume provides both.
For starters, have a look at the sixteen photographs in the middle of the book. They start with the Seabrook protests of 1977 and continue with a wonderful picture of the New Zealand Peace Squadron obstructing a US nuclear submarine. Then comes the Venerable Nichidatsu Fujii and fellow Buddhists, at the first 1978 UN Special Session on Disarmament. . . . Mary Kaldor of END, Randall Forsberg of the US Freeze campaign, and the leaders of the Moscow Trust group, as it was in the 1980s, are all there. So are Edward Thompson and Helen Caldicott, passionate in front of their microphones. . . .
The book is a realistic, detailed account of the immense activity undertaken by tens of thousands of ordinary people worldwide, which over the years has had a significant effect on the policies of politicians. The unilateral Gorbachev pause on nuclear testing, the World Court ruling of 1996, and the Canberra Commission Report did not come out of thin air. They were all the result of hard work. That citizens’ campaigns actually matter is the overall message of the book. Says the author: “Recounting the history of nuclear arms control and disarmament without referring to the antinuclear movement, is like telling the story of civil rights legislation without referring to the civil rights movement.” . . .
In a concluding and optimistic chapter, he gives his own ideas about future progress at a time when the current Washington regime seems bent on tearing up every nuclear arms control agreement that it can get its hands on. The author asks if the people of the world are “ready for the new thinking about international relations necessitated by the nuclear age”? His answer is yes. “Another world is possible” is the theme of current anti-globalization campaigns. So too is a more intelligent and a more moral approach to international security, and that is the direction in which our efforts are moving us.
*Bruce Kent is vice president of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
The Struggle Against the Bomb Volume 3, Toward Nuclear Abolition: A History of the World Nuclear Disarmament Movement, 1971 to the Present by Lawrence S. Wittner, Stanford University Press, 2003, 657 pp., illustrated. Paperback, $32.95. Cloth, $75.00.