Bomb Power

Bomb Power

The Modern Presidency and the National Security State

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780143118688
  • 288 Pages
  • Penguin Books
  • Adult


A groundbreaking examination of how the atomic bomb profoundly altered the nature of American democracy.

In Bomb Power, bestselling author Garry Wills presents a blistering critique of excessive executive power and official secrecy, drawing a direct line from the Manhattan Project to the usurpations of George W. Bush. He reveals how the atomic bomb transformed our nation down to its deepest constitutional roots-by dramatically increasing the power of the modern presidency and redefining the government as a national security state-leaving us in a state of continuous war alert for nearly seven decades. Bold and incisive, Bomb Power casts the history of the postwar period in a new light and sounds an alarm about the continued threat to our Constitution.


“Persuasive…elegantly argued.”
-Walter Isaacson, The New York Times Book Review

“A powerful-and sobering-account of the step-by-step creation of government structures, unaccountable to Congress or the people, to conduct ‘permanent war in peace.””
-The Boston Globe

Bomb Power is pungent, confident, fluid, steeped in learning.”
-Vanity Fair

“Written in Wills’ characteristically accessible style, Bomb Power is a well-argued denunciation of our constitutional gatekeepers that is as sad and fascinating as an account of the decline of the Roman republic. … [Wills’s] credentials as a historian are impeccable. His breadth of knowledge is awe inspiring, but he never goes over the reader’s head: He is a scholar with the heart of a journalist.”
-The Miami Herald

“Deeply thought-provoking… A prolific author of astonishing range, Wills…offers a forceful indictment of the 43rd president, and even more of his vice president, Dick Cheney.”
-The San Francisco Chronicle

-The Los Angeles Times

“As usual with Wills, provocatively argued and elegantly written.”
PRH Book Clubs Survey