March 1964

The Fallen Sky: Medical Consequences of Thermonuclear War.

Author Affiliations

Edited for Physicians for Social Responsibility by Saul Aronow, PhD, Frank R. Ervin, MD, and Victor W. Sidel, MD. Price, $1.50. Pp 131, with 7 illustrations. Hill & Wang, Inc., 141 Fifth Ave, New York 10010, 1963.

Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(3):472-473. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280090158040

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The Fallen Sky presents a collection of five articles dealing with various aspects of the medical consequences of thermonuclear war. These were written in 1961-1963 and discuss the effects of modern nuclear weapons.

The lead article, "Human and Ecologic Effects in Massachusetts of an Assumed Thermonuclear Attack on the United States," gives detailed discussion of the blast, thermal and radiation effects of multimegaton bombs, with maps showing the expected range of these forces in an area such as Boston and eastern Massachusetts. An estimate is made that perhaps 2,240,000 people would be killed within 21 miles of central Boston by blast and heat alone. Radiation effect would produce local fallout that would kill many others in a wider area.

The clinical effects of radiation in humans are discussed in relation to various dosage levels. It is noted that birds and mammals are susceptible to radiation, while bacteria and insects are

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