Jeff McMahan

Jeff McMahan a research student at St John’s College, Cambridge, is the author of British Nuclear Weapons: For and Against.

The End of the Future

Jeff McMahan, 1 July 1982

The Reagan Administration’s bellicose posturing and its apparent relish for the Cold War have finally succeeded in rousing Americans to an awareness of the danger of nuclear war. But, while Reagan and his associates certainly deserve most of the credit for dispelling people’s complacency, the American campaign against the nuclear arms race has also received considerable inspiration from a series of articles by Jonathan Schell which appeared this past February in the New Yorker. These articles have now been reprinted in book form, and are continuing to have a profound impact on people’s thinking about the nuclear threat.


Big enough to deter

15 April 1982

SIR: Lord Zuckerman’s reply to my review (Letters, 6 May) unfortunately shares the faults of his book: his comments are both confused and inconsistent. He first criticises me for suggesting that his notion of minimal deterrence implies ‘an “absolute" measure of the size of a nuclear arsenal’ – meaning, I suppose, an absolute measure of what size a nuclear arsenal ought to be. He then suggests...

Big enough to deter

Jeff McMahan, 15 April 1982

Lord Zuckerman’s recent pronouncements on the nuclear arms race have been favourably received by a large number of people of surprisingly divergent outlooks. His words are piously quoted by spokesmen for CND, and have been endorsed with enthusiasm by Lord Chalfont, the scourge of unilateralists. They have even received the blessing of three of Britain’s former prime ministers. This unlikely amalgam of admirers will not be disappointed by Zuckerman’s new book: it contains something for everyone. But on closer examination, that is what is troubling about it: the universal appeal is maintained, no doubt unwittingly, at the expense of consistency.

Fearful Thoughts: Morality by Numbers

Stephen Mulhall, 22 August 2002

Two-thirds of the way through this dense, involved and exhausting book, its author acknowledges that his views about the nature of persons have the following implication. Suppose that a woman,...

Read more reviews

Nuclear Argument

Keith Kyle, 18 April 1985

‘It’s not that Ronald Reagan hasn’t got any ideas of his own,’ an American who held high office in the Pentagon under Jimmy Carter remarked recently. ‘The trouble is...

Read more reviews

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences