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How close did the world come to destroying itself in the 100 years following “the war to end all wars”? We may never know. But Martin Miller, who chose to spend 10 years of his life photographing the apocalyptic weapons of the Cold War, has documented the frightening and often eerie flotsam and jetsam of the nuclear arms race in Weapons of Mass Destruction: Specters of the Nuclear Age (Schiffer, 2017).

“It has not been my intention to second guess the decision making that led to building what Richard Rhodes [the Pulitzer Prize–winning author and nuclear historian] has called ‘Arsenals of Folly,’ ” Miller writes in the preface to his book.
“Yet as I researched and wrote the historical narrative, the question that kept coming back to me was: Did those who made the decisions really understand what these weapons could do?” For that matter, we might ask: Did anyone really understand what these weapons might have done? Miller’s work as a documentarian
surely helps us contemplate the answers to both questions.