I'm of a generation that grew up during the height of the Cold War, and thankfully weathered time to witness the ushering of that era's end. From that conflict, there has been a mountain of fictional material (books and films) produced from the period. Many, drawing upon the fear and dread from that confrontation. A generation's expectation that it could only end when each of the superpowers finally launched their nuclear payloads at one another is at its full bleak glory in many of those works -- and may seem bizarre (or perhaps, even quaint) to the younger age groups. I'll submit that Eugene Harvey and Burdick Wheeler's 1962 novel, FAIL-SAFE, epitomized a good portion of this anxiety, and did it well. The old bestseller should lay on top of that particular old-world-view book stack. The synopsis of the novel, that of the accidental triggering of a strategic bomber air-wing strike against the Soviet Union caused by computer glitch (and its horrifying and terrible solution in the tale), was close enough story-wise to a another book. Peter George's (aka Peter Bryant) earlier 1958 novel, Red Alert. So much so, that it caused its author to sue the tandem of Harvey and Burdick.
The rest of this post has been updated and moved over to my current blog, found here.