Sierra Club Books
A language of euphemism and distortion--a language like "newspeak" from George Orwell's 1984--has profoundly shaped public debate about nuclear technology since its inception. After World War II, nuclear developers used information-management techniques, including official secrecy and public relations, to promote what one called the "sunny side of the atom"-energy "too cheap to meter" that would supposedly power a new Golden Age. Such euphoric visions set the stage for one of the most extraordinary public-relations efforts in history: the selling of nuclear technology to the American public.
The original edition of Nukespeak, published by Sierra Club Books in 1982, was conceived in the wake of the first great nuclear plant accident at Three Mile Island. Breaking through the linguistic filter of the nuclear mindset, it carefully documented how nuclear developers confused their hopes with reality, covered up damaging information, harassed and dismissed scientists who disagreed with official policy, and generated false or misleading statistics to bolster their assertions.
Sadly, these developers also failed to learn from their mistakes-as this updated 30th anniversary edition of the book makes abundantly clear. Examining the critical events of the last three decades--including Chernobyl; nuclear proliferation thanks to the fiction of "Atoms for Peace"; the campaign to re-brand nuclear power as a clean, green solution to global warming; and the still-unfolding disaster at Japan's Fukushima power plant--the new edition argues persuasively that "nukespeak" and the nuclear mindset continue to dominate public debate about nuclear weapons and nuclear power in a continuing attempt to seduce us into accepting the unthinkable.
About the Authors
Richard C. Bell is an author, editor, and political consultant who pioneered the use of online communications and social media in national electoral politics. He served as research director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, new media director at the Democratic National Committee, vice president for communications at the Worldwatch Institute, and blogmaster for John Kerry's presidential campaign. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Rory O'Connor is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and journalist based in New York. Co-founder and president of the international media firm Globalvision, Inc., and board chair of The Global Center, an affiliated nonprofit foundation, he is also the author of Shock Jocks: Hate Speech & Talk Radio and the forthcoming The Feed Is My Friend: Social Media, Politics, and Trust.
Stephen Hilgartner co-authored the 1982 edition of Nukespeak with Richard C. Bell and Rory O'Connor. He is now on the faculty of Cornell University and writes on science and society.
Bell, Hilgartner, and O'Connor won the National Council of Teachers of English 1982 George Orwell Award for Distinguished Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language for the original edition of Nukespeak. Recent recipients of this award include Michael Pollan, Amy Goodman, Jon Stewart, Seymour Hersh, Arundhati Roy, and Garry Trudeau.
For more information, visit www.nukespeak.org
Contact / Media Inquiries
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Contact Rebecca.Silver@sierraclub.org, 212-791-3600 x284
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