Nuclear Bodies

The Global Hibakusha

Robert A. Jacobs

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The Cold War reconsidered as a limited nuclear war

In the fall of 1961, President Kennedy somberly warned Americans about deadly radioactive fallout clouds extending hundreds of miles from H-bomb detonations, yet he approved ninety-six US nuclear weapon tests for 1962. Cold War nuclear testing, production, and disasters like Chernobyl and Fukushima have exposed millions to dangerous radioactive particles; these are the global hibakusha. Many communities continue to be plagued with dire legacies and ongoing risks: sickness and early mortality, forced displacement, uncertainty and anxiety, dislocation from ancestors and traditional lifestyles, and contamination of food sources and ecosystems.
 
Robert A. Jacobs re-envisions the history of the Cold War as a slow nuclear war, fought on remote battlegrounds against populations powerless to prevent the contamination of their lands and bodies. His comprehensive account necessitates a profound rethinking of the meaning, costs, and legacies of our embrace of nuclear weapons and technologies.

Robert A. Jacobs is a professor at the Hiroshima Peace Institute of Hiroshima City University. He is the co-founder of the Global Hibakusha Project, conducting field research on radiation-affected communities in more than twenty countries.

"Inexorable clarity and care for his fellow humans mark Robert Jacobs's guide to the Cold War as a limited nuclear war, whose harms disfigure any possible future."—Norma Field, author of In the Realm of a Dying Emperor: Japan at Century’s End
 

"Jacobs leaves behind the division of nuclear power into civilian and military spheres. He argues convincingly that propagandists drew this line in order to clear the way for the unhindered pursuit of nuclear weapons. In so doing, he masterfully shows how military leaders waged a limited nuclear war on the environment and human bodies."—Kate Brown, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"Nuclear Bodies is an urgent book, a work of great ethical gravity and political import that grapples with the pernicious legacies of radiological colonialism. Jacobs unsettles conventional distinctions between war and peace, exhorting us to reimagine the Cold War as a limited nuclear war."—Rob Nixon, author of Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor
 
ISBN: 9780300230338
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
344 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
24 b/w illus.