Month: April 2016

A useful Bibliography – Nuclear Culture/History: An Introduction

Just a quick, useful bibliography for readings in British nuclear history and culture. All are excellent for introductory readings into nuclear culture/history in general.

All are referenced as standard for the University of Liverpool History Department and they are all secondary sources – I used none for primary sources. Many of them contain further reading if you are interested in researching outside this list.



Arnold, L., Britain and the H-bomb. Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2001.

Aubrey, C. (ed.), Nukespeak: the media and the bomb. London: Comedia Publishing Group, 1982.

Baylis, J., and K. Stoddart, The British Nuclear Experience: The Role of Beliefs, Culture, and Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Bingham. A., ‘The Monster? The British Popular Press and Nuclear Culture, 1945-early 1960s’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 45.4 (December 2012), pp. 609-624.

Boyer, P., By the Bombs Early Light: American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.

Boyer, P., Fallout: A historian reflects on America’s half-century encounter with nuclear weapons. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1998.

Brown, K., Plutopia: nuclear families, atomic cities, and the great Soviet and American plutonium disasters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Caute, D., The Dancer Defects: the struggle for cultural supremacy during the Cold War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Chalmers, M., and W. Walker, Uncharted Waters: The UK, nuclear weapon and the Scottish Question. East Lothian: Tuckwell Press, 2001.

Chilton, P. (ed.), Language and the nuclear arms debate: Nukespeak today. London: Pinter, 1985.

Cordle, D., ‘Protect/Protest: British nuclear fiction of the 1980s’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 45.4 (December 2012), pp.653-669.

Cordle, D., ‘‘That’s going to happen to us. It is’: Threads and the imagination of Nuclear Disaster on 1980s Television’, journal of British Cinema and Television, 10.1 (January 2013), pp. 71-92.

Eley, G., A Crooked Line: From Cultural History to the History of Society. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005.

Engel, J. A., Local Consequences of the Global Cold War. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2007.

Fairhall, D., Common Ground: the story of Greenham. London; New York: I. B. Tauris; New York: Distributed in the US by Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

Farish, M., The Contours of America’s Cold War. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 2010.

Gavin, F. J., Nuclear Statecraft: history and strategy in America’s atomic age. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012.

Gold, J. R., and G. Revel, Landscapes of Defence. Harlow: Prentice Hall, 2000.

Gowing, M., Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy. 1945-1952. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1974.

Grant, M., After the bomb: Civil Defence and nuclear war in Britain, 1945-1968. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Grant, M. (ed.), The British Way into Cold Warfare: Intelligence, Diplomacy and the bomb, 1945-1975. London: Continuum, 2009.

Greenwood, S., Britain and the Cold War 1945-1991. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000.

Harford, B. and S. Hopkins, Greenham Common: Women at the wire. London: Women’s Press, 1984.

Hecht, G., The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity After World War Two. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1998.

Hewison, R., In Anger: Culture in the Cold War. London: Weindenfeld & Nicolson, 1981.

Hilgartner, S., R. C. Bell, and R. O’Conner, Nukespeak: Nuclear language, visions and mindset. San Francisco CA: Sierra Club Books, 1982.

Hogg, J., British Nuclear Culture: Official and Unofficial Narratives in the twentieth century. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.

Hogg, J., ‘The family that feared tomorrow: British Nuclear Culture and Individual Experience in the late 1950s’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 45.4 (December 2012), pp. 535-549.

Hogg, J., and C. Laucht, ‘Introduction: British nuclear culture’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 45.04 (December 2012), pp. 479-493.

Holdstock, D., The British nuclear weapons programme, 1952-2002. London: Frank Cass, 2003.

Hughes, J., ‘Deconstructing the bomb: recent perspectives on nuclear history’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 37.4 (December 2004), pp. 455-464.

Hughes, J., ‘What is British Nuclear Culture?: Understanding Uranium 235’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 45.04 (December 2012), pp. 495-518.

Laucht, C., Elemental Germans: Klaus Fuchs, Rudolf Peirels and the Making of British Nuclear Culture 1939-1959. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Levine, H. B. (ed.), Psychoanalysis and the Nuclear Threat: Clinical and Theoretical Studies. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013.

Maguire, R., ‘Never a credible weapon: nuclear cultures in British government during the era of the H-bomb’, The British Journal for the History of Science, 45.4 (December, 2012), pp. 519-533.

Marsh, C., and C. Fraser (eds.), Public Opinion and Nuclear Weapons. London: Basingstoke, 1989.

Masco, J., The Nuclear Borderlands: The Manhattan Project in Post-Cold War New Mexico. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

McCamley, N., Cold War Secret Nuclear Bunkers: The passive defence of the Western World during the Cold War. Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2013.

McEnaney, L., Civil Defense begins at home: Militarization meets everyday life in the fifties. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Minnion J., and  P. Bolsover, The CND Story: the first 25 years of CND in the words of the people involved. London: Allison & Busby, 1983.

Newhouse, J., The Nuclear Age: History of the Arms Race from Hiroshima to Star Wars. London: Michael Joseph Ltd, 1989.

Ritchie, N., ‘Relinquishing nuclear weapons: identities, networks and the British bomb’, International Affairs, 86.2 (March 2010), pp. 465-487.

Rosenthal, P., ‘The Nuclear Mushroom Cloud as Cultural Image’, American Literary History, 3.1 (Spring 1991), pp. 63-92.

Schlosser, E., Command and Control. London: Allen Lane, 2013.

Shapiro, J. F., Atomic Bomb Cinema: the apocalyptic imagination on film. New York; London: Routledge, 2002.

Stoddart, K., Losing an Empire and finding a role: Britain, USA, NATO and nuclear weapons, 1964-1970. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Stoner-Saunders, F., Who Paid the Piper?: The CIA and the cultural Cold War. London: Granta, 2000.

Welsh, I., ‘The NIMBY Syndrome: Its Significance in the History of the Nuclear Debate in Britain’, The British Journal of Science, 26.1 (March 1993), pp. 15-32.

Weart, S., Nuclear Fear: A History of Images. Cambridge, Mass; London: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Willis, K., ‘The Origins of British Nuclear Culture’, Journal of British Studies, 34.1 (January 1995), pp. 59-89.

Winkler, A. M., Life Under A Cloud: American Anxiety About the Atom. Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Wynne, B., Rationality and Ritual: the Windscale Inquiry and nuclear decisions in Britain. Chalfont St. Giles (Bucks.): British Society for the History of Science, 1982.

Wynne, B., et al., Public Perceptions and the Nuclear Industry in West Cumbria. Lancaster: Lancaster University: 2007.

Zeman, S. C., and M. A. Amundson, Atomic Culture: How we learned to stop worrying and love the bomb. Boulder: University of Colorado, 2004

“The Nuclear Notebook”

Welcome to the blog: “The Nuclear Nightmare”. For more information on this blog, what it will cover and what I hope you will enjoy, please see the ‘About’ tab. For this first post, I shall give a brief synopsis of the research I hope to do during my time as a Ph. D student. I hope you enjoy my research, theories, reposts and discussions and keep up to date in my journey towards academia.
Thanks! Emily

My current project seeks to conceptualise the emotional and cultural consequences of nuclear anxiety on British life, 1952-1989. The first full-length history of nuclear anxiety, it will develop innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of the Cold War, modern British history, and nuclear scholarship in the humanities more widely.

Drawing upon previously neglected primary sources, it will explore how individuals and communities across Britain felt, perceived, or articulated nuclear anxiety over time. This project is intended to be ambitious, original and far-reaching, and to influence how we think about our nuclear past, present and future.

The project will focus on the genealogy of nuclear anxiety in cities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.


‘Protect and Survive,’ History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Prepared for the Home Office by the Central Office of Information, (1980).

The project will contribute to a number of themes in the existing literature. Most research has been conducted in the American context, with histories of nuclear Britain focusing almost entirely on the political, military and scientific aspects of the nuclear weapons state.

In the past decade there has been a steady rise in the number of social and cultural histories of the nuclear age, notably in the area of British nuclear culture studies. Here, scholars have conceptualised the relationship between nuclear technology and wider society, for instance introducing the concepts of class, nation and nuclear resistance in an attempt to re-think nuclear culture.[1]

Aside from a handful of studies from the last century, the cultural impact of nuclear anxiety has only been touched upon within general studies of fear and anxiety, or studies of the relationship between science and emotions.[2] Recent historical research has argued for the need to understand how ordinary individuals reacted to the nuclearisation of the state.[3]

Yet, the voices of ordinary people rarely enter these studies, meaning that our understanding of British nuclear culture is incomplete. This project will offer a new critical lens through which to examine the diverse impact of the nuclear nation-state through dissecting and challenging current historiographical conceptions of ‘British nuclear culture’ and the ‘British nuclear nation-state’. The project will attempt to offer new readings of the nuclear age through close appreciation of debates in the history of emotions.

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See: Baylis, J., and K. Stoddart, The British Nuclear Experience: The Role of Beliefs, Culture, and Identity. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014; Hogg, J., British Nuclear Culture: Official and Unofficial Narratives in the long 20th Century. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.; and Brown, K., Plutopia: nuclear families, atomic cities, and the great Soviet and American plutonium disasters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

In order to conceptualise and map the changing status of nuclear anxiety, the project will examine two distinct periods of British history.

The thermonuclear era (1952-1963), was one of genuine anxiety over the nuclear arms race and global nuclear testing. The second period (1978-1989) saw a resurgence of diplomatic tension after years of ‘detente’, and new cultural forms of expression demonstrated nuclear anxiety in powerful ways, especially towards nuclear civil defence.

With the probable renewal of Trident in 2016 the project will also consider the contemporary relevance of historical research on nuclear anxiety, bringing an inter-disciplinary dimension to the project in its possible contribution to policy-related nuclear non-proliferation debates.[4]

This project will be the first cultural history of nuclear anxiety, promising to contribute significantly to the rapidly expanding historiography of British nuclear history, while also linking to contemporary discussions on the status of the nuclear weapons state, and thus highlight the broader social and cultural meanings of nuclear weapons in an era of non-proliferation.



[1] See special issue of British Journal for the History of Science, December 2012. Tony Shaw, British Cinema and the Cold War: The State, Propaganda and Consensus (London: I.B. Tauris, 2001).

[2] Joanna Bourke, Fear: a cultural history (London: Virago, 2005); Frank Biess and Daniel M. Gross (eds.), Science and Emotions After 1945: a transatlantic perspective (Chicago: CUP, 2014).

[3] Jonathan Hogg, British Nuclear Culture: official and unofficial narratives in the long twentieth century (London: Bloomsbury, 2016).

[4] Nick Ritchie, A Nuclear Weapons-Free World: Britain, Trident and the challenges ahead (New York, NY: Palgrave, 2012; Andrew Futter, The Politics of Nuclear Weapons (Los Angeles: SAGE, 2015).