Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, I have enjoyed many of the novels you have recommended, but I think I need a change of pace. Do you have something about politics or recent history that I might enjoy? Potential Political Pundit

Dear Pundit, I have just the book for you: BOMB POWER by Garry Wills. The premise is that the creation/invention/production of the atomic bomb has had an immeasurable impact on American society far beyond what one would think. The author takes us back to 1943: the beginning of the Manhattan Project where we meet General Leslie Groves- the man who managed the atomic bomb operation- a man who answered , well, really to no one, except possibly FDR. Vice-President Truman, Congress, and the courts were all unaware of the scope of Groves's power. The secrecy, anxiety, and discipline necessitated by our possession of the bomb would give rise to the Cold War, to a myriad of covert and overt operations, and ultimately to the present war on terror. Because the president (whoever he/she might be) has control of "the button," enormous , unchecked power has passed to this office, to the diminishment of Congress and the courts. If the president has the final control of a weapon that can destroy multiple nations, then who can deny him anything ? Certainly not Congress, not the courts, not the American people. .. Ultimately then, American presidential power truly rests on "bomb power."

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