Eric Schlosser on the legacy of nuclear mishaps

The mushroom cloud of the first test of a hydrogen bomb, 'Ivy Mike', as photographed on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, in 1952. (Reuters/File Photo)


The world's nuclear weapons keep us all on the knife edge of survival. But there are times when that knife is sharper than others. Eric Schlosser, the author of a new book on atomic weapons and nuclear mishaps is a little surprised we're all still hanging around.

Command and Control author Eric Schlosser believes it's lucky civilizations still exist since many nuclear accidents during the Cold War could have led to obliteration.


A 1978 internal video by the US Air Force Systems Command about the Titan 2 missile

Just two years after that toe-tapping film was circulated to staff, the US air force was in a life-and-death struggle with a Titan 2 missile that could have destroyed Arkansas.

That story is part of Eric Schlosser's new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety. He was  London, England. 

A nuclear war video by Kevin Ford inspired by Eric Schlosser's new book

Eric Schlosser tasked film-maker Kevin Ford with bringing his book Command and Control to life in a short video

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This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.

Last Word - Fail-Safe

Earlier, Eric Schlosser was just terrifying us with stories of actual nuclear accidents that took the world to the brink. Fortunately, most harrowing accidents are all works of fiction that borrow heavily from real life.

The film Fail-Safe is about intense efforts to prevent a thermonuclear war from breaking out. One of the bunker room discussions-- about launching a lethal first strike against the Soviet Union -- almost seems ripped from Schlosser's book.

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