The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Many readers will recall the acronym Mad - mutually assured destruction - from the near-lunatic thermonuclear phase of the cold war.
Implicit within this latest book from Joseph Mangano is the fact that those times are still with us. Not far into these 300 pages the realisation dawns that Mad is no mere abbreviation and as the book progresses the full madness begins to register.
Presumably the science referred to in the title is tongue-in-cheek because the essential high science of nuclear physics, and the mathematical discipline of medical statistics, clearly do not inform decisions of the governing politico-economic caste.
A prologue outlines the problem of the post-WWII US and the growing demand for electrical power and the willingness of the US empire to supply this power on its own terms.
Yet there does not seem to be any mention of the similarly voracious demands for electricity in the rush to build the first, and subsequent, nuclear bombs.
The book is refreshingly free from political points being scored, although older readers may baulk at casual references to the "communist" world of the time - which it wasn't - and a simplistic reference to "Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's [death which] offered more hope for reconciliation."
Such points are common in similar critiques but this is a highly mature book that details, with ample tabulated information, the damage that "mad science" has and is doing. The consequences will last for millions of years. Radiation-induced diseases are described, biological cell damage is explained, and official but occluded evidence of massive population damage is exposed, often for the first time.
The author was among the first to study Strontium-90 levels in babies, so has the authority to comment on the dangers that we incur with this dangerous technology.His insights make this a valuable read.