In Bomb Power, Garry Wills reveals how the atomic bomb transformed our nation down to its deepest constitutional roots - by dramatically increasing the power of the modern presidency and redefining the government as a national security state - in ways still felt today. A masterful reckoning from one of America's preeminent historians, Bomb Power draws a direct line from the Manhattan Project to the usurpations of George W. Bush.
The invention of the atomic bomb was a triumph of official secrecy and military discipline - the project was covertly funded at the behest of the president and, despite its massive scale, never discovered by Congress or the press. This concealment was perhaps to be expected in wartime, but Wills persuasively argues that the Manhattan Project then became a model for the covert operations and overt authority that have defined American government in the nuclear era. The wartime emergency put in place during World War II extended into the Cold War and finally the war on terror, leaving us in a state of continuous war alert for sixty-eight years and counting.
The bomb forever changed the institution of the presidency since only the president controls 'the button' and, by extension, the fate of the world. Wills underscores how radical a break this was from the division of powers established by our founding fathers and how it in turn has enfeebled Congress and the courts. The bomb also placed new emphasis on the president's military role, creating a cult around the commander in chief. The tendency of modern presidents to flaunt military airs, Wills points out, is entirely a postbomb phenomenon. Finally, the Manhattan Project inspired the vast secretive apparatus of the national security state, including intelligence agencies such as the CIA and NSA, which remain largely unaccountable to Congress and the American people.
Wills recounts how, following World War II, presidential power increased decade by decade until reaching its stunning apogee with the Bush administration. Both provocative and illuminating, Bomb Power casts the history of the postwar period in a new light and sounds an alarm about the continued threat to our Constitution.
Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)
"The original premise is often lost here, but any tract from Wills will delight his readership. This book is among his most timely, if not among his best." - Library Journal
"As usual with Wills, provocatively argued and elegantly written." - Kirkus Reviews
"Wills's conception of 'bomb power' is a weak explanatory principle for this sketchy take on post-war American history .... [an] unfocused jeremiad." - Publishers Weekly
The information about Bomb Power shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.
Garry Wills was born in 1934 in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from
Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin in 1951 and received his PhD
in classics from Yale in 1961. In 1995, he received a L.H.D. from Bates College.
He received an honorary doctorate from the College of the Holy Cross.
A historian and author of more than 20 books including What Jesus Meant, he is also a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books.
In 1993, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America, which describes the background and effect of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. In 1998, he won the National Medal for the Humanities. He has also won the National Book Critics Circle Award.
He is an ...
Become a Member
and discover your next great read!
Believe those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who find it.
Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!
The Big Holiday Wordplay:
$400+ in Prizes
Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.
Your guide toexceptional books
BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.