John Mueller. Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism from Hiroshima to al-Qaeda. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2010. I added this book to my bibliography just this week, tagged 'get'; and then found a very reasonably-priced paperback while browsing in a bookshop. Who am I to argue with fate? There's no doubt that there's a lot of nuclear alarmism about but I wonder if he's talking it too far: one chapter argues that nuclear weapons have only had a 'modest influence on history' and if that's the case, why bother writing a book about it? Then again as a recent discussion here has confirmed I have no business forming first impressions of books without having read every last word...

Keith Robbins. Politicians, Diplomacy and War in Modern British History. London and Rio Grande: Hambledon Press, 1994. Another serendipitous and even cheaper find. A collection of essays, many previously published in fairly obscure places, mostly on Victorian and Edwardian diplomacy with a couple each on the First World War and interwar periods. The most interesting ones for me are three on foreign policy and public opinion and/or the press and/or pressure groups, and one entitled 'Britain in the summer of 1914'. Bonus: the cover has a photo of Sir Edward Grey with a bird on his head.

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