Article | January 12, 2023
Read more about `Review—Ploughshares and Swords: India's Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War`
The story of India’s nuclear program has been told many times and by many scholars. Researchers have been fortunate for works by security strategists, journalists, anthropologists, and political scientists. But few of these works were historical studies and even fewer incorporated the primary sources of archives from multiple countries. Historian Jayita Sarkar’s Ploughshares and Swords: India’s Nuclear Program in the Global Cold War is the work that scholars of India’s nuclear program have been waiting for; it will be required reading for historians of several different fields – foreign relations, science and technology, and decolonization – to name just a few. India’s nuclear program possesses a large historiography, but Sarkar produced a tome that scholars of the program cannot miss but also a welcoming work for readers interested in Cold War history and the rise of the developing world post-World War II. It is light on jargon, thorough in its examination of how independent India became a scientific power, and comprehensive in how it carries the story to the present. Readers will understand the decisions and stakes that were present when India debated the bomb and finally took the leap as a nuclear weapons state. Sarkar’s book asks whether nuclear programs help chip away at a nation’s democracy and instill anti-democratic elements where safety and security trump peace and prosperity.