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From Polaris to Trident
The Development of US Fleet Ballistic Missile Technology

$55.00 USD

Part of Cambridge Studies in International Relations

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9780511833113

$ 55.00 USD
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About the Authors
  • This book provides a complete history of the US Fleet Ballistic Missile programme from its inception in the 1950s and the development of Polaris to the deployment of Trident II in 1990. Writing in an accessible yet scholarly manner, Graham Spinardi bases his historical documentation of FBM development on interviews with many of the key participants. His study confronts a central issue: is technology simply a tool used to achieve the goals of society, or is it an autonomous force in shaping that society? FBM accuracy evolved from the city-busting retaliatory capability of Polaris to the silo-busting 'first strike' potential of Trident. Is this a case of technology 'driving' the arms race, or simply the intended product of political decisions? The book provides a comprehensive survey of the literature looking at the role of technology in the arms race, and seeks to explain technological development using a 'sociology of technology' approach.

    • A unique account of the development of some of the key weapons of the nuclear age
    • Looks at the central question of how far technology drives the arms race, and to what extent politicians are in control of developments
    • Includes a mass of new research, including interviews with the major participants, as well as a theoretical framework for students and scholars
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… it is an intriguing account of the political background, aims and technology of the fleet ballistic missile system … [It] is clear and anyone interested in ballistic missile politics and technology will find it fascinating.' Journal of Naval Engineering

    'It is quite simply, the most carefully researched, scholarly and objective account I have read on the FBM program.' Rear Admiral Robert H. Wertheim

    'Since World War II the western world has become adept at designing and managing extremely large and complex technological projects that greatly influence the course of contemporary history. Graham Spinardi's history of the Fleet Ballistic Missile Project provides a pioneering, detailed and engaging history of creativity massively organized.' Tom Hughes, University of Pennsylvania

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9780511833113
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 3 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. The US Fleet Ballistic Missile system: technology and nuclear war
    2. Theoretical models of weapons development
    3. Heterogeneous engineering and the origins of the fleet ballistic missile
    4. Building Polaris
    5. Success and successors
    6. Poseidon
    7. Strat-X, ULMS and Trident I
    8. The improved accuracy programme and Trident II
    9. Understanding technical change in weaponry
    10. Appendix: list of interviewees

  • Author

    Graham Spinardi, University of Edinburgh

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