The Memoir of an Insider's Insider

MAKING WEAPONS, TALKING PEACE A Physicist’s Odyssey from Hiroshima to Geneva. Herbert F. York. Basic Books, New York, 1987. 392 pp. $22.95. The most curious thing about Making Weapons, Talking Peace is the title itself; here we have strong implications of duplicity on the part of an unnamed culprit (the United States?, the Soviet Union?) whom the author intends to expose for wearing a peaceful mask while covertly engaged in war-like machinations. Happily, the book is nothing of the sort

Tony Rothman
Dec 13, 1987

MAKING WEAPONS, TALKING PEACE

A Physicist’s Odyssey from
Hiroshima to Geneva. Herbert F. York.
Basic Books, New York, 1987. 392
pp. $22.95.

The most curious thing about Making Weapons, Talking Peace is the title itself; here we have strong implications of duplicity on the part of an unnamed culprit (the United States?, the Soviet Union?) whom the author intends to expose for wearing a peaceful mask while covertly engaged in war-like machinations. Happily, the book is nothing of the sort. Rather it is the memoir of an insider’s insider, Herbert York, whose career has taken him from nuclear weaponeering during World War II to the negotiating table in Geneva.

York started off his journey as a physicist engaged in the production of uranium-235 for the first atomic bomb, initially at Ernest Lawrence’s Berkeley cyclotron, then at Oak Ridge. In 1952, on a surprisingly offhand request from Lawrence, he became first...

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