Prescription for Survival
A Doctor's Journey to End Nuclear Madness
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How close we came to extinction, and it is forgotten now.” So begins Nobel Prize winner Bernard Lown's story of his fight against the nuclear symptom of what he calls “the disease of militarism.” It is still an active and highly contagious disease, but as this extraordinary memoir vividly demonstrates, it can be stopped by concerned citizens working together.
In 1981, brimming with anxiety about the escalating nuclear confrontation with the Russians, Lown founded International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) with Soviet cardiologist Evgeni Chazov. They recruited more than 150,000 doctors worldwide to join their movement, held numerous international conferences, met with world political leaders, and appeared on specially produced television programs broadcast throughout the USSR and the United States. In 1985, despite active opposition from the U.S. government and NATO, Lown and Chazov accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of IPPNW.
This compelling story is told with a vibrancy of language that illuminates dramatic scenes such as the historic IPPNW symposium (chaired by astrophysicist Carl Sagan) that brought together an American admiral, a Russian general, and a British field marshal at the height of the cold war; Lown, during a routine medical exam, persuading King Hussein of Jordan to join the antinuclear cause; the heart attack of a Russian journalist at an IPPNW press conference; and Lown's frank face-to-face conversations with Mikhail Gorbachev.
Nuclear weapons are still very much with us, and we forget this at our peril. Prescription for Survival probes the past to help us understand what drove, and continues to drive, nuclear proliferation and offers a blueprint showing how we can join together across national boundaries to end it.
; July 2008
400 pages; ISBN 9781609944346Read online
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Title: Prescription for Survival
Author: Bernard Lown
In the press
“This absorbing book illustrates how the medical and moral views of a committed and eloquent physician and his colleagues can alter the thinking and the policies of the public, the press, and politicians and military leaders. If humanity survives the nuclear arms race, Dr. Lown will deserve much of the credit for our survival.”
—VICTOR W. SIDEL, MD, Distinguished University Professor of Social Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine
“Dr. Lown's unwavering confidence in the justness of his cause, coupled with his courage and overwhelming determination, helped him to over- come every obstacle. This is a book I would prescribe for every friend of civilization and opponent of nuclear war (in other words, every sane human being).”
—JEROME RUBIN, founder of Lexis/Nexis
“Prescription for Survival describes a movement of physicians that changed the course of the mightiest powers on Earth. The prescription offered is equally relevant to winning the current struggles of impoverished and oppressed humanity for peace and justice.”
—DR. MUBASHIR HASAN, author, columnist, leader of the India-Pakistan peace movement, and former Minster of Finance, Planning, and Development, Pakistan
“The story of IPPNW and how it managed against all odds to bring sense to a potentially explosive situation makes for a fascinating read. There is much to be learned from this book on how to mobilize the opinions of citizens and leaders in the search for a greater good.”
—V. KASTURI RANGAN, Malcolm P. McNair Professor of Marketing and cofounder of the Social Enterprise Initiative, Harvard Business School
“A unique fabric of history woven with heart threads! It says so much about priority, what is needed when we are threatened existentially, what is possible when the right man or woman at the right place does the right thing with vision and perseverance, igniting the spark of enthusiasm in other human beings of kindred spirit. For me this unique experience is the foundation of my conviction that we can also stop climate change and keep our beautiful planet inhabitable, together.”
—DR. MARTIN VOSSELER, environmental activist and cofounder of Swiss Physicians for Social Responsibility