New Book Explains How the U.S. Nearly Wiped Out Its Entire East Coast

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The United States was one safety gear away from nuking a large part of its East Coast, including North Carolina, New York, and Washington D.C.

This is a fact that the author of Fast Food Nation believes people have forgotten. But with his new book that comes out Tuesday, Eric Schlosser hopes people remember the dangers of nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons, he says in an interview with Mother Jones, are “machines and I think they are the most dangerous machines ever invented. And like every machine, sometimes they go wrong.”

If things would have gone a little differently back in 1961, Schlosser writes in Control and Command, the U.S. could have destroyed a large part of the East Coast.

A B-52 bomber went out of control over North Carolina and a pair of hydrogen bombs fell out. One bomb nearly exploded when its safety gear failed. The bombs were each 250 times stronger than that bomb dropped on Hiroshima, says Schlosser.

While the Air Force maintains the bomb was never going to actually explode, Schlosser says that’s not true.

“As the decades passed, particularly since the Second World War, we lost the sense of how devastating  these weapons can be—and also what it’s like to be in a society that’s been completely destroyed by warfare," he says.

Schlosser hopes people can see that “if we don’t greatly reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world, or completely eliminate them, a major city is going to be destroyed by nuclear weapons.”

“It’s remarkable, it’s incredible!” Schlosser says. “That a major city hasn’t been destroyed since Nagasaki.”

Sources: Raw Story, Newser, Mother Jones