Arming Mother Nature

Winner, 2014 Paul Birdsall Prize for best book in military or strategic history, American Historical Association

Winner, 2016 Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize for best book for general readers, History of Science Society

Read an excerpt in Salon

“[Hamblin’s] dark review of recent history offers an unsettling theory of how close we have already come to total destruction.” —Publishers Weekly

“A well-written and -documented challenge of some of the assumptions on both sides in the debate about global warming.” —Kirkus Reviews


“Literary lovechild of Richard Rhodes’ Making of the Atomic Bomb and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.” —Slate
“Reading Arming Mother Nature… is like stepping into the most terrifying nightmares of Dr. Strangelove.” — La Stampa
Jacob Hamblin offers a far-reaching and provocative account of just how dependent narratives of global climate change are upon the military support, apocalyptic scenarios, and political ideology that shaped the growth of the modern environmental sciences during the Cold War.” –Gregg Mittman in Science
“The original doom-mongers were not sounding the alarm; they were riding into battle.” –Fred Pearce in The New Scientist
“We should look to the past when responding to anthropogenic climate change… Jacob Darwin Hamblin goes further in Arming Mother Nature, arguing that Soviet and US plans to unleash environmental disasters on each other’s blocs have contributed to today’s lack of political will over climate change.” — Cyrus Mody in Nature
“Jacob Hamblin’s new book is a clearly and calmly told tale of the American effort to conscript nature -from the seafloor to the stratosphere -for potential active duty during the Cold War. Well researched in U.S. and European archives, it finds the roots of modern apocalyptic environmentalism in the hair-raising deeds and often hare-brained schemes of an American scientific-military complex under pressure to find ways to prevail against the USSR. It sheds new light on the old adage that it is a miracle anyone survived the Cold War.” –J.R. McNeill, Georgetown University