The Super Weapon and the American
H. Bruce Franklin
Revised and Expanded Edition
University of Massachusetts Press Paperback, 2008. ISBN
Comments on the original edition
- "A marvelous study that weaves together some of
the most important developments in US military history, a survey of
popular literature, and an overview of American culture.... The story
of America's conversion to belief in the efficacy of air power... is
told better here than anywhere else. Franklin concludes with a
penetrating discussion of the current debate over Star Wars... no
source provides so profound a historical perspective to the debate as
- --Choice (Outstanding Academic Book Of 1989)
- "In this carefully researched and revealing
inquiry into American cultural history, Bruce Franklin brings to light
themes of great significance. One is the fear that we are about
to be destroyed, and at the last minute are saved, miraculously, by a
superweapon or superhero. More ominously, in his words, 'the
American imperial eagle' commonly turns out to be 'a bird that
habitually views its own behavior as "defense" against its prey.'
Unless this pathology is understood and overcome, it will continue to
cause great haarm, which we will not
- "Thought provoking--insightful--brilliant.
Franklin's analysis marks a watershed in the debate over nuclear
weapons and Star Wars. He has broken new ground in this book, which
will be talked about for years to come."
- -Michio Kaku, Professor of Nuclear Physics, City
University of New York
- "In War Stars, H. Bruce Franklin writes
American history from a new angle . . . It astonished me--but it was
totally convincing throughout."
- --Isaac Asimov
- "A searing and penetrating history of the
American obsession with finding a technology that will end wars
forever... Its analysis of American fiction and films provides a new
dimension to the subject."
- --Carl Sagan
- "If there is a future, and perhaps Franklin's
book will help to insure there is one, then War Stars will be a
classic. This book should be placed on the desks of all public
officials, elected or appointed."
- --John Seelye, Graduate Research Professor, U. of
- "A wide-ranging, highly readable, and thoroughly
stimulating book. Franklin's provocative study is essential to an
understanding of the ideological and popular-culture dimensions of our
long national obsession with superweaponry."
- --Paul Boyer, the Merle Curti Professor of History,
University of California, Los Angeles
- "[One of the two] most significant studies ever
published in science fiction scholarship."
- --Science Fiction Research Association Newsletter
- "Franklin has emerged as an outstanding voice
among radical critics of science fiction, and War Stars
represents an important step in placing the genre within a political
and historical context. The flip-flop word play in the title suggests
this book's major focus; Franklin is concerned primarily with American
ideology-«particularly the place of technology within an aspect
of the American belief system--and its effects on foreign policy and
the arms race of the postwar period. While Franklin shows the
dialectical relationship between the fictive products of imagination
and American history, his emphasis here... is on the political and
material consequences of an ideological position and national
self-image. Outspoken and compelling, War Stars'
well-documented and rigorous argument... gains a specific and original
force by its marshalling of evidence."
- --Christopher Sharrett, Film Quarterly
- "War Stars is so crammed with fascinating
facts and ideas that it should interest people of all political
persuasions. The author's rigorous scholarship and analytical insights
are delivered in an appealingly vigorous and pungent prose. And for
those trying to comprehend the powerful effect of the SDI concept on
the public imagination, it should be required reading."
- --Paul Brians, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Available from Amazon.com.
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