August 7, 1987

The Medical Implications of Nuclear War

Author Affiliations

University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health School of Medicine

University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health School of Medicine


edited by Fredric Solomon and Robert Q. Marston (symposium, Washington, DC, September 1985), 619 pp, with illus, $43.50, paper $33.50, Washington, DC, National Academy Press, 1986.

JAMA. 1987;258(5):708. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400050150049

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The studies generated in this five-part volume provide a set of truly remarkable insights into the devastation and destruction from nuclear war as told by groups of scientifically oriented physicians and other researchers. The subjects range from atmospheric physics to medical supply and demand in a post—nuclear war world. The highly commendable combination of both natural and social science research leads the reader to the only possible conclusion of strong opposition to nuclear warfare.

On the one hand, the wealth of data available on the biomedical, biosocial, biochemical, and biophysical aspects of nuclear warfare is a revelation in itself. The tone of the volume leaves little doubt about the sincerity of the authors; likewise, the clarity of presentation leaves little doubt about the outcome of nuclear war. Dr Herbert Abrams' concluding summary is masterful, and his epilogue could just as well be prologue: it poses appropriate questions, maps out what