Fail Safe by Eugene Burdick Online

Fail Safe
Title : Fail Safe
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : null
Language : English
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 288

In a world still reeling from the fallout of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of American bombers—armed with a deadly payload of nuclear weapons—heads towards Moscow, their motives mysterious. Suddenly, a nuclear apocalypse looms closer than it ever has—and the lives of millions of people depend on the high-stakes diplomacy of leaders on both sides of the divide.This noveIn a world still reeling from the fallout of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of American bombers—armed with a deadly payload of nuclear weapons—heads towards Moscow, their motives mysterious. Suddenly, a nuclear apocalypse looms closer than it ever has—and the lives of millions of people depend on the high-stakes diplomacy of leaders on both sides of the divide.This novel is the basis for a movie version released in 1964, starring Henry Fonda. Author Eugene Burdick’s political science credentials make this more than an ordinary thriller—it’s also a fascinating social commentary on Cold War politics. Fail-Safe explores the thin line between peace and global destruction that characterized this turbulent time. As relevant today as it was on the day it was published, this is a high-tension tale that’s nearly impossible to put down.


Fail Safe Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten

    “The world is no longer man's theatre. Man has been made into a helpless spectator. The two evil forces he has created- science and the state- have combined into one monstrous body. We're at the mercy of our monster” The Big Board from the 1964 movie.As I was making my way through the public school system in the 1970s, they were still doing duck and cover drills. In retrospect, of course, these drills were absolutely worthless except as an effective way of convincing all of us that our lives [...]

  • Rebecca McNutt

    Love the front cover graphics on Fail-Safe, admittedly that's what drew me to it, but this war thriller is just as vivid and evocative in its content as it is in its cover. It's an exciting story that will have any reader questioning the world around them.

  • Philip

    Thank you demotivationalposters. I couldn't have said it better myself.Fail Safe was originally written in 1962 - a time of terrible uncertainty when it comes to nukes and the cold war. That's the same year as the Cuban Missile Crisis This was also the height of the MAD doctrine and while maybe classroom teachers were betting on the desks, I think I'd be betting on the bomb.It's difficult to recreate feelings in history. We resort to relying on our own experiences and perspective and casting the [...]

  • Natylie Baldwin

    I don’t know what the President is doing, but whatever it is he’d better be right. Khrushchev isn’t going to sit around forever and watch those planes move in on Moscow. The whole thing rests on the President’s ability to persuade Khrushchev it was an accident. If he doesn’t, then we’re going to have all-out, 100 per cent, slam-bang, hell-bent war. That’s right, isn’t it, General?-Congressman Raskob, “Fail-Safe,” page 206For those who are familiar with the story of Fail-Safe [...]

  • George K.

    "S.O.S. Πεντάγωνο καλεί Μόσχα", εκδόσεις ΒΙΠΕΡ.Πριν τρεις μέρες πέτυχα το τρομερό αυτό θρίλερ στο Μοναστηράκι, ενώ δεν ήξερα καν ότι είχε μεταφραστεί στα ελληνικά. Ο τίτλος μου θύμισε κάτι (είναι ίδιος με τον ελληνικό τίτλο της ταινίας Dr. Strangelove), είδα τον τίτλο πρωτοτύπου (Fail-Safe), [...]

  • Mike Hankins

    Before there was Tom Clancy, there was books like this: guesses at doomsday scenarios and nuclear Armageddon brought about by the increasing escalation in the Cold War. Written in 1962, this novel, emblematic of what became an entire genre, attempt to warn us of our own impending destruction because of the out-of-control nuclear arms race that existed at the time. While it’s very preachy, it raises some good points and, if nothing else, provides a valuable look at the mindset of the time perio [...]

  • Robert

    Read the book, as with a few others, shortly after seeing the movie the first time it was shown on TV in the 60's. As usual there was a bit more in the book than would fit on the screen and parts that are nearly unfilmable. It is certainly a striking premise that a president would do what the fictional president does in this book to avert an all-out exchange, a prospect that only continued to grow in horror for the next twenty years or so after the book came out as the stockpile of warheads rapi [...]

  • Judy

    This novel was the #6 bestseller of 1962. It was originally serialized in three weekly issues of the Saturday Evening Post in October, 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was an eerie and discomforting read covering a possible breakdown of technology leading to nuclear war.Of course, that was the fear I lived under in high school. That some mad man would "push the button" and within 24 hours we would all be fried and gone.The book is liberally loaded with technical terms and nuclear gear, [...]

  • Bob Mayer

    Most people think we are relatively safe from nuclear weapons. That couldn't be further from the truth. There are way too many nukes floating around out there. And the United States has the most. Having been in Special Operations I applaud those whose duty it is to defend our country, but it is inevitable that a nuke will go off, most likely inside a container in a port city. Since they exist, they will be used.There is also the possibility of a mistake as outlined in this book. Yes, mistakes ha [...]

  • Mkfs

    Surprisingly not too dated. Sure, the Cold War is over and the chance of a mechanical malfunction triggering global thermonuclear war is minimal -- but the world hasn't changed that much.

  • Thom

    This new era of duck-and-cover suggested a reading of this classic book, first produced as a magazine serial during the Cuban Missile crisis. The book doesn't start well but ends strong, with a powerful message to beware complete automation. The human element saves the world."What if the president went mad?" Black asked abruptly "Then we would have trouble," Groteschele said with a laugh.As new characters are introduced in the early chapters, a flashback brings them to the current day. These slo [...]

  • Jose Moa

    Tis novel written short time after the cuban missile crise ,when the USA president was Kennedy and the Soviet Union premier was Kruschev, is a early warning on the danger of a excesive confidence in computericed systems over the decisions in the use of nuclear weapons.Is a page turner novel,a bestseller in its time,well written and structured with a plausible accidental nuclear war plot,makes a relatively deep insight in the MAD doctrine and its logic contradictions,also makes insight in the mil [...]

  • Mike (the Paladin)

    I read this way, way, way backhigh school I believe, late 60s. This was and, if you let yourself get into it and the times it was written, still is, the proverbial white knuckle, nail biter. There are times the frustration level at humans and our almost pathological self destructiveness will cause you to want to beat your head (or possibly a character's head) against a wall. You'll wish that the characters would just for an instant use some common sense. And the whole acting sort of like the U.S [...]

  • J. Shimotake

    While reading this book, it's hard not to smell Burdick's cigarette burning and the clack-clack-clack of his typewriter. Anyway, it's an awesome read and beats the shit out of the teleplay CBS did in 1999Also, this is the first in a series we have dubbed "The Kedzie Classic." To become a "Kedzie Classic," Brandon, Marty and I must all have a turn of it within 72 hours. It's a pretty exlcusive club. So far it's this book, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Linda Davenport. Then again, I didn [...]

  • Erik Graff

    I saw this as a motion picture with my dad at Park Ridge's Pickwick Theatre when it came out in 1964. Soon thereafter I purchased the text at the downtown bookstore on Prospect Avenue, read through it once, then, impressed and having a new tape recorder, read it through again, aloud. This wasn't all that long after the Cuban Missle Crisis, a series of events I'd followed closely. The threat of nuclear holocaust was present throughout childhood.

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    The book is mostly like the 1964 movie except the characters are a little more filled out. The end is more moving in my opinion than the movie. See my updates for more about the book.

  • Neil

    This was an interesting book; it strongly reminded me of both Red Alert! (another novel) and the movie, Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Learned To Love The Bomb. It moves at a decent pace; the character development is decent. It is set in the historical mid-1960s and has the names of individuals in it who were alive during that time. It is also a bit of a polemic, of sorts, about the dangers of completely trusting every decision to machines and "removing" human responsibil [...]

  • Ulysses

    What if nuclear holocaust were brought about not by an intentional act of war or a malevolent artificial intelligence (a la Skynet), but by a simple component failure in a computer system in which its human operators-- and their foes-- placed too much trust? This is the scenario of Fail-Safe, which was written in 1962, amidst the hysteria of the Cold War. The natural inclination for both Americans and Soviets at the time may have been to focus their fears on "the other side" as the primary threa [...]

  • Hamdanil

    Cold war political thriller written in 1962 - right at the peak of the Cold War. Fast-paced and really exciting. The plot is easy to follow and quite believable, and the president's solution at the end was unexpected, but made a lot of sense. Even today, computers are always prone to bugs, and the threat of accidental war is always there. Presumably the authors-political scientists-know what they're talking about in this novel, but I feel that they're a bit gullible and overrate the US military [...]

  • Todd Stockslager

    Review title: Cold War Archeological digI previously read and reviewed Little Big Man, which might seem to have no connection to a slim novel of Cold War paranoia about accidental nuclear war, except these:1. Both books I read as a high school student and remembered them as classics, so i was curious how my 50+ self would feel about these same books reread decades later. Little Big Man struck me as not as comic, perhaps, but more deeply serious. See my thoughts on Fail-Safe below.2. I bought bot [...]

  • Jessica Raab

    Engaging, fast-paced and relevant even though it was written in 1960s. I was blown away by the ending.

  • P.S. Winn

    Great thriller, when American bombers armed with nuclear weapons head out, no one knows why or how to stop impending disaster. This is a well written edge of the seat read.

  • John Jr.

    The era of nuclear weapons is littered with many accidents, as Eric Schlosser's 2013 book, Command and Control, made clear. Louis Menand's summary, in a New Yorker review, put it succinctly: there have been "hundreds of incidents after 1945 when accident, miscommunication, human error, mechanical malfunction, or some combination of glitches nearly resulted in the detonation of nuclear weapons."The public seldom heard of these incidents, except when they couldn't be concealed. But it's long been [...]

  • Mary Pond

    Relevancy reinforced these days.

  • Michael David

    I've been fond of modern history ever since I was in high school. I don't like war, and would most likely be the first one to perish were it to happen, but I like reading about it and watching films on it. Among my favorite topics are the Second World War and the Cold War. The first Cold War film I viewed was Le Carre's Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It was antipodean to the glamorous and stylish world of James Bond: Leamas (the titular spy) had a dirty job, and he did it to the dirty end. The e [...]

  • Jack

    I will admit that I probably would have never bothered to read the book if it wasn't for the live television broadcast that was based on this book some time back. I had found this quite by accident, while browsing the shelves of a used bookstore. Short at about 300 pages, "Fail-Safe" is more a thought experiment, where it attempts to play out a scenario. It is similar to the Law and Order procedurals. The characters, while the authors attempt to breathe some life into them, are not the central p [...]

  • Alex

    "Fail-Safe" has long been one of my favorite Cold War movies, but I never thought about reading the book until recently. But I was in the mood for some 60's-era spy stories, so I picked this up as a quick read.Written almost on top of the Cuban missile crisis, "Fail-Safe" begins as an accidental glitch in the U.S. nuclear protocol sends several bombers, armed with atomic weapons, off to bomb Russia. For some mysterious reason, the U.S. is unable to contact the bombers and stop them. Eventually, [...]

  • booksneedcaffeinetoo

    My Reaction in a Nutshell:This book is so much better than I expected.The Long Version:I had to read this book for school. As with any book I've ever been assigned, the mere fact that I no longer have a choice in the matter makes me like the book less. To be honest, I wasn't thrilled about having to read Fail-Safe. Partially that was due to the copious amounts of discussion questions I have to fill out, but mostly it was because I thought that a book written in the 1960s about the Cold War was g [...]

  • Noahe

    Fail-Safe was a good book, but definitely not one of my favorite reads. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy political issues and learning about history. Even though this is not a history novel, it takes place during The Cold War and could have easily happened at any time. Anybody who likes learning about The Cold War and political or military dilemmas should read this book. The first few chapters of this book are very slow. As important as character development is, it could have been [...]

  • Matt B

    Fail Safe is a book written by Eugene Burdick about a White House translator that gets involved in an almost all-out war with the Soviet Union. In the beginning of the book, the author focuses on Peter Buck, one of the best Russian translators in the country. Eugene explains the backstory life of Peter and when he went over to the Soviet Union. Later in the book, it explains about General Bogan and his conversation with Senator Raskob about the term, “fail safe.” Unidentified planes are spot [...]