Not For The Faint Of Heart
Overkill and Megalove, by Norman Corwin (World, 1963, 114 pp., $3.50), and Hostage America, by Robert A. Dentler and Phillips Cutright (Beacon Press, 1963, 167 pp., $3.95), are reviewed by Earle E. Cairns, chairman of the Department of History and Political Science, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

These books are for those who do not panic easily but want to consider the horrors of nuclear war and the possible alternatives. Neither pessimistic negativism nor optimistic positivism appeals to these authors. They face the possibility of civilization’s disappearing in a nuclear holocaust but suggest a possibility of constructive action to meet the challenge by means other than unilateral or total disarmament, or a mad rush to find the ultimate weapon first. Corwin’s vision is less practical than that of Dentler and Cutright, but both books give evidence of thorough research. Both reduce nuclear warfare to its impact upon particular economic, religious, and political groups, and especially upon the individual.

Corwin’s skills in communications media are used negatively to pillory defenders of nuclear war in savage, satirical, and at times crude, at other times basically religious (pp. 12, 18, 36), poetry. He then develops his positive vision in “Could Be,” originally written for the United Nations, which is a picture of the peaceful constructive use of nuclear power by international cooperative effort. This could become the moral equivalent of war.

The two sociologists, Dentler and Cutright, consider America a hostage to war since the Russian explosion of a hydrogen bomb in August, 1953. This thesis leads them to consider the results, in social and individual terms, of a probable nuclear attack upon ...

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