The Bert Cochran Legacy
|First published: Macmillan,
Just after the atom bomb was exploded, Einstein said that a new kind of thinking was essential if mankind was to survive. Today, all calculations based on the atom bomb have been completely overturned by the new fusion bomb, one of which could wipe out any city in the world. Jets, ballistic missiles, and the opening up of space can lead us even more rapidly down the road to doomsday.
The author points out that under the modern system of war, in a conflict between East and West, both sides will go on the assumption that the loser will be wiped out literally as a nation and people. That the winner will have a happier fate no one is bold enough to assure us. The saturation parity of the arms race has sterilized military power.
The cultural lag has prevented us from inventing new social arrangements to conform to the new technology. "In a world where the war system has prevailed for six thousand years," states Cochran, "a pacifist mood can grow dominant only when society discovers that war has become an unusable instrument, and the human mind casts about for new ways to survive." He contends that there are signs that forces may emerge to abolish the war system; that a new "public opinion," in the widest sense of the phrase, may compel leaders of government to innovate means of international organization in time to prevent a global holocaust. The War System is a hard-hitting, frightening, and realistic book; it is also a hopeful one.
Note: This description appeared on the original jacket cover of the book.
This is an angry and anguished book. It is an incisive...exposition of the way in which national states are enmeshed in the attitudes and interests that make them devotees of the "war system."
The New York Times
Bert Cochran, formerly of The American Socialist, has done a lively and well researched job of recording our rapid march toward doomsday and documenting its cumulative dementia.
Print copies of Bert Cochran's books are available from libraries and online retailers. Brown University is considering assuming the responsibility of digitizing Bert Cochran's complete works. The details are still being worked out. Check this site for updated information.
Available online now:
A collection of Bert Cochran's book reviews, originally published in The Nation, The Washington Post, and other publications
Reissued in 2005 for the launch of The Bert Cochran Legacy and available for free download as a PDF file