Audiobook Review: “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety”
by Eric Schlosser
read by Scott Brick
published by Penguin Audio
Approx 20.5 hours

Investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser is at it again. This time around he tackles the management of America’s nuclear arsenal. I had previously read Schlosser’s taking on of the fast food industry in his book “Fast Food Nation.” After reading that book, I was totally disgusted by not only the fast food industry, but also America’s handling of the meat industry. For a long time I had a hard time eating fast food and when I went shopping I would steer away from the meat department. I admit, I found it hard to stay away completely and so now and then I’ll eat something Eric Schlosser discussed in that book and will either get a little nauseous or shiver a bit, but at least he did open my eyes on a very lucrative industry that preys on its employees and customers. So what was I in for thist time?

Seeing as how the subject is nuclear weapons, I thought well this will probably give me some good information and I’ll want to go out and start protesting nuclear war, like a hippie. Well, yes and no. Yes this book goes into depths unimaginable about how the world and America have mishandled nuclear weapons since the the bombs were dropped on Japan. So now I’m thinking of building a bunker, but wondering how deep to go.

Before I go into too much detail on this book I want to talk about the reader of the audiobook, Scott Brick. I have been a fan of Scott Brick ever since I heard him read the Truman Capote book “In Cold Blood,” and through the audiobook productions of all of the Dune books by Frank Herbert, and the prequels and sequels by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. In fact it was those mentioned books that got me addicted to audiobooks. Brick has a way with his delivery in any audiobook he reads that sucks the listener in and once absorbed can barely tell whether it is a single voice or multiple voice performance. Brick can deliver emotions and ideals that are implied through the overall book within just a few sentences. Being read by Scott Brick sealed the deal in this audiobook. Eric Schlosser’s in depth investigative journalism attracted me to the book , but Brick made sure I listened now.

Schlosser has used his gift for writing to create a fact-filled documentary which reads like a thriller novel. The sad thing is that this is a true story. The main story is about the “Damascus Accident,” an accident that occurred in Damascus, Arkansas at a Titan II missile silo. The story begins with the Air Force personnel preparing for routine checks and maintenance on a Titan II missile (carrying a nuclear warhead). One of the crew drops a wrench which strikes the side of the missile causing a severe fuel leak. As the story is being told the reader/listener learns that through a series of mishaps and ignored safety procedures that leads to a major disaster.

Interspersed between the events that follow the dropped wrench and lead to a major explosion at the missile silo, Schlosser gives a history of the world’s, focusing mainly on the United State’s involvement in creating nuclear weapons. From the first atomic bomb building and testing all the way through nuclear disarmament and leading to this disaster, Eric Schlosser deals out facts that will scare you. The facts are all there, the danger exists, where do we go now?