Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday Forgotten Book/Film: FAIL-SAFE

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.
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7 comments:

  1. Have you seen Clooney's version that was done live on TV? I thought he did a pretty good job - no where near as great a Lumet's take on the material but still a solid piece of entertainment nonetheless.

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  2. Oh, yes. I have seen and appreciated Clooney's 2000 TV version. I have both versions in my library. I need to watch that remake once again. Thanks, J.D.

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  3. Another great addition to your Friday series! I love these!

    I'm not sure if you ever read any non-fiction but if you like military/cold war history then I recommend BLIND MAN'S BLUFF: The untold story of American submarine espionage. I love cold war era fiction and non-fiction and this was a pretty interesting book. Truth is stranger than fiction and some truly strange shit is in this book.

    Cherry on top for me in all this is that I'm a huge Russophile (both pre and post communism) so I love to read anything that features Russia. I finally realized my dream of visiting Russia last year and it was amazing; it's only made me more obsessed. Some of the most interesting stories are from folks that made visits before and after the fall of the USSR. A truly fascinating country.

    Hmm, digress much? :)

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  4. I remain a non-fiction historical buff, even through my later crime genre years, Rachel. I read the excellent Blind Man's Bluff a few years ago. Great pick. I envy that Russia trip of yours. Sounds like a wonderful and fulfilling trip. Thanks for your kind words and comment, Rachel.

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  5. 金銀愈加磨鍊,愈加光亮,人生愈加考驗,生命愈加光輝。 ............................................................

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  6. Great review. I am going to post in next week rather than add it in now when no one will catch it.

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  7. Very kind of you. Thank you very much.

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