Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Changing My Point of View: The Sum of All Fears

This post is part of a series on books I read that affected me in some way, both fiction and non-fiction. If you comment here with a book that affected you, you could win a $20 gift code for Amazon.com.


I grew up at the end of the Cold War, with Reagan and Gorbachev and all the posturing. At a young age, I heard about nuclear weapons. Although I didn't understand how they worked, I quickly looked up the history of them, frightening my elementary school librarian. I wanted to know more about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. My young mind put the Japanese as the evil ones and the U.S. as the good ones. I hadn't yet learned about shades of gray in world affairs.

I would watch the evening news with my parents, not quite understanding why the anti-nuclear protesters were protesting. Our government was run by sane, intelligent men (don't scoff, I was 10) who wouldn't launch those missiles for a little infraction. I didn't get it.

As I aged into a young adult, I understood the science as well as why those people protested outside the White House while Ronald Reagan was president. I also picked up a book that my father loaned me, called The Sum of All Fears. Written by Tom Clancy and released in 1991, it tells the tale of terrorist organizations banding together to plant a nuclear bomb on American soil. There's much more to it than that. Wikipedia does a good job of summarizing it.

The effect on me was to change my entire point of view regarding nuclear weapons. I want them gone, eradicated, taken out of the hands of irrational humans, even those who seem rational. I had not felt that way until I read The Sum of All Fears.

1 comment:

Kell said...

I'm always drawn again and again to a book by David James Duncan called The Brothers K... Which I like to describe as a book about baseball that even I love...

It's about a family of four boys - who all grew to run in different directions, but how the family managed to stick together.

The writing is excellent - and I remember the author reading a paragraph to a live audience - where he started to cry - because a character was someone he knew... It was touching.