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Something has gone wrong. A group of American bombers armed with nuclear weapons is streaking past the fail-safe point, beyond recall, and no one knows why. Their destination -- Moscow.

In a bomb shelter beneath the White House, the calm young president turns to his Russian translator and says, "I think we are ready to talk to Premier Kruschchev." Not far away, in the War Room at the Pentagon, the secretary of defense and his aides watch with growing anxiety as the luminous blips crawl across a huge screen map. High over the Bering Strait in a large Vindicator bomber, a colonel stares in disbelief at the attack code number on his fail-safe box and wonders if it could possibly be a mistake.

First published in 1962, when America was still reeling from the Cuban missle crisis, Fail-Safe reflects the apocalyptic attitude that pervaded society during the height of the Cold War, when disaster could have struck at any moment. As more countries develop nuclear capabilities and the potential for new enemies lurks on the horizon, Fail-Safe and its powerful issues continue to respond.

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ISBN-10:  088001654X
Author:  Eugene Burdick
Publisher:  Harper Perennial
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review by . April 17, 2011
I previously read and reviewed Little Big Man, which might seem to have no connection to a slim novel of Cold War paranoia about accidental nuclear war, except these:      1.  Both books I read as a high school student and remembered them as classics, so i was curious how my 50+ self would feel about these same books reread decades later.  Little Big Man struck me as not as comic, perhaps, but more deeply serious.  See my thoughts on Fail-Safe below.   …
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