Flashback: Reviews of “Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom”

by Elaine Scarry

Below are links to reviews, interviews, excerpts, event info, and related material for Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom by Elaine Scarry, my sister.

“That we have escaped disaster so far is a near miracle. Scarry’s remarkable contribution should inspire us to abolish this colossal folly.”

Noam Chomsky

“. . . urgent and lucid . . . [a] prolonged rallying cry of a book.”

Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

“ Elaine Scarry is right: Americans live in a thermonuclear monarchy.”

Kennette Benedict, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

“Scarry’s assault on the reigning complacency about nuclear weapons rests on her belief in the capacity of an interpretation to reconfigure the world.”

Nathan Schneider, Chronicle of Higher Education

“Thermonuclear Monarchy is a work of deadly serious political science by an analyst dwelling on the constitutional implications of giving a democratically elected president sovereign-like autocracy.”

Nick Smith, Engineering and Technology (U.K.)

“Scarry’s book requires any thoughtful reader to revisit the basic postulates and the deepest human purposes of our system of government.”

Laurence H. Tribe, professor of constitutional law, Harvard Law School

 

Thermonuclear Monarchy:
Choosing Between Democracy and Doom
by Elaine ScarryPurchase on Amazon
Publisher page

“A really remarkable work, ranging across ethics, law, and politics to pose genuinely radical challenges to the confused and potentially lethal systems that pass for democracy in our world.”

Rowan Williams, master of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and former Archbishop of Canterbury


“Elaine Scarry offers a coruscating critique of current policies, arguing that they are antithetic to the spirit of the U.S. constitution, and indeed to basic democratic principles. . . . [The] book offers a compelling case for swifter progress toward their elimination.”

Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal (UK)

“I congratulate Elaine Scarry on her intellectual courage and moral clarity, and in proposing the only possible way out.”

Marcelo Gleiser, author of A Tear at the Edge of Creation

AUDIO PRESENTATIONS

Elaine Scarry presentation at MIT, September 30, 2014, part of “Understanding the Call to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons” (Elaine Scarry presentation begins at 35:15)

REVIEWS AND COMMENTARY

February 10, 2014, Nick Smith in Engineering and Technology Magazine: “Command and Control/Thermonuclear Monarchy”[Two very different but equally revealing reviews of the legacy of the Cold War are among our pick of the new technology books]

February 17, 2014, Nathan Schneider in The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A Literary Scholar’s Voice in the Wilderness: Elaine Scarry fights American complacency about nuclear arms”

February 24, 2014, Kennette Benedict in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: “Can true democracy exist in a nuclear weapon state?”

March/April 2014, Craig Lambert in Harvard Magazine: “Nuclear Weapons or Democracy: ‘Out of ratio’ weapons are essentially ungovernable”

(undated), Steve Donoghue in Open Letters Monthly: “The Danelaw” [Review of Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom]

March 7, 2014, David Swanson on Washington’s Blog: “Thermonuclear Monarchy”

March 21, 2014, Richard Rhodes in the New York Times: “Absolute Power: ‘Thermonuclear Monarchy,’ by Elaine Scarry”

April 30, 2014, on the Gleebooks website: “Thermonuclear Monarchy”

May 7, 2014, John Myers on the Personal Liberty Digest website: “Obama And Putin Have A Holocaust On Their Hands; Steps You Must Take To Survive”

May 23, 2014, Mark J. Palmer on the Earth Island Journal website: “The Decision to Wage Nuclear War Should Rest With the Body Politic, Argues Author”

June 20, 2014, discussed in Simon Waxman on the Al Jazeera America website: ” Americans support the Obama Doctrine: Popular approval for the president’s conciliatory approach matters more than accusations of weakness”

August, 2014, Rosalie G. Riegle in Sojourners: “A Reign of Terror”

October 14, 2014, Jonathon Sturgeon on Flavorwire: “10 Mind-Altering Philosophy Books from 2014 “

Undated, Jasmine Farrier in Law and Politics Book Review (Sponsored by the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association): “Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom” [book review]

INTERVIEWS

“The Contradiction of Nuclear Democracy” – Simon Waxman in theBoston Review

“On Thermonuclear Monarchy: An Interview with Elaine Scarry” – by Sarah Gerard in The American Reader

“Elaine Scarry: The U.S. Constitution Bans Nukes” – by David Swanson on Talk Nation Radio

“Interview with Elaine Scarry, author of ‘Thermonuclear Monarchy'”– by Kenneth Baker in SFGate

“Are we numb to Nukes?” – Christopher Lyden on Radio Open Source

RELATED ARTICLES BY ELAINE SCARRY

“Why We Must Disarm the U.S.’s Unprecedented Nuclear Arsenal” – Elaine Scarry in TIME, August 5, 2014

EXCERPTS

“The floor of the world”– in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 2014 (subscription site)



EVENTS

Saturday, March 15, 2014, 3:45 p.m. — Boston, MA — Boston College, Stokes Hall, S195 –Keynote Address by Elaine Scarry, Harvard University, “The Floor of the World.” Respondent: Paulo Barrozo, Boston College Law School. (Part of the conference, On Violence: Ethical, Political and Aesthetic Perspectives)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 7:30 p.m. — McMinnville, OR — Linfield College, 900 SE Baker StElaine Scarry, Harvard University, “The Floor of the World.”

Thursday, March 27, 2014, 5:00 p.m. — Washington, DC — George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs, Room 505, 1957 E St NW Elaine Scarry, Harvard University, “Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom”. Elaine Scarry demonstrates that the power of one leader to obliterate millions of people with a nuclear weapon – a possibility that remains very real even in the wake of the Cold War – deeply violates our constitutional rights, undermines the social contract, and is fundamentally at odds with the deliberative principles of democracy. RSVP: http://go.gwu.edu/thermonuclear Sponsored by the Center for International Science and Technology Policy

Thursday, April 3, 2014, 6:00 p.m. — Cambridge, MA — Harvard University, TSAI Auditorium, CGIS South, Room S010, 1730 Cambridge Street – Elaine Scarry on her new book, Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom. with responses by Philip C. Bobbitt, Herbert Wechsler Professor of Federal Jurisprudence, Columbia Law School, and Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School.

August 6, 2014
Boston Remembers Hiroshima and Nagasaki:
Moving from Violence to Unity

Tuesday, September 30, 2014, 7:00 p.m. — Cambridge, MA — MIT Stata Center (Room 32-155), 32 Vassar Street – Understanding the Call to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons: Jim Walsh and Elaine Scarry. In November 2013, the UN Disarmament Committee passed a resolution establishing the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. This event is held in answer to that call. (Audio – Elaine Scarry presentation begins at 35:15)

Saturday, November 8, 2014, Cambridge, MA — MIT Room 34-101 • 50 Vassar St. –Presentation at A Foreign Policy for All: Re-Thinking U.S. Foreign Policy for the 21st Century

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6:00 p.m. — New York, NY — Graduate Center CUNY (Room C204-205), 365 5th Avenue – The Making and Breaking of Cities – Presentation at Abiding Cities, Remnant Sites: A Conference hosted by the Dept of Comparative Literature, CUNY.

Sunday, January 11, 2015, 4:00 p.m. — Chicago, IL — Wellington Ave. UCC, 615 W Wellington –Thermonuclear Monarchy: Book Talk Chicago Area Peace Action event.

Also by Elaine Scarry

The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (1987)

“Stunningly original, enormously important, powerfully written….The beauty of her writing is that she can make us see torture and war as we have never seen them before, read the Bible and Marx as we have never read them before–indeed, see our day-to-day world in a usefully new manner.”–Eric J. Cassell, M.D., Cornell Medical Center

“An extraordinary book: large-spirited, heroically truthful. A necessary book.”–Susan Sontag

“An absolutely astonishing achievement…I believe it will change many lives, not by persuasion, but by widening the scope of consciousness. The book itself is a great act of courage, intelligence, and style.”–Allen Grossman, Brandeis University

Rule of Law, Misrule of Men (2010)

“Excoriating and elegant, Elaine Scarry takes us to the big issues: why the rule of law matters, what went wrong, and what is needed to put it right.” Philippe Sands, author of Lawless World and Torture Team, Professor of Law, University College London

“Some of the most trenchant and passionate analysis of the politics of democracy and terror in the United States. These essays are a searing call to conscience, an eloquent plea for justice, and a damning indictment of the Bush administration’s response to 9/11.” David Cole, Professor of Law, Georgetown University, coauthor of Less Safe, Less Free: Why America Is Losing the War on Terror

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