A.Q. Khan was the world's leading black market dealer in nuclear technology, described by a former CIA Director as "at least as dangerous as Osama bin Laden." A hero in Pakistan and revered as the Father of the Bomb, Khan built a global clandestine network that sold the most closely guarded nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea, and Libya.
Here for the first time is the riveting inside story of the rise and fall of A.Q. Khan and his role in the devastating spread of nuclear technology over the last thirty years. Drawing on exclusive interviews with key players in Islamabad, London, and Washington, as well as with members of Khan's own network, BBC journalist Gordon Corera paints a truly unsettling picture of the ultimate arms bazaar. Corera reveals how Khan operated within a world of shadowy deals among rogue states and how his privileged position in Pakistan provided him with the protection to build his unique and deadly business empire. It explains why and how he was able to operate so freely for so many years. Brimming with revelations, the book provides new insight into Iran's nuclear ambitions and how close Tehran may be to the bomb.
In addition, the book contains startling new information on how the CIA and MI6 penetrated Khan's network, how the U.S. and UK ultimately broke Khan's ring, and how they persuaded Pakistan's President Musharraf to arrest a national hero. The book also provides the first detailed account of the high-wire dealings with Muammar Gadaffi, which led to Libya's renunciation of nuclear weapons and which played a key role in Khan's downfall.
The spread of nuclear weapons technology around the globe presents the greatest security challenge of our time. Shopping for Bombs presents a unique window into the challenges of stopping a new nuclear arms race, a race that A.Q. Khan himself did more than any other individual to promote. ... Read more
Customer Reviews (15)
Gordon Corera's book "Shopping For Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity, and the Rise and Fall of the A. Q. Khan Network" is an interesting read and offers a good history of what has gone wrong in the attempt to limit the spread of nuclear weapons.What is apparent from reading this book is that while A. Q. Khan is the face of what went wrong; if it hadn't been him then it would have been someone else.The book is divided into two fairly simple sections, "Rise" and "Fall".The "Rise" section covers the development of the bomb in Pakistan, as well as the development of Khan's network to sell the information.The "Fall" section details the discovery of the network, and the actions, often painfully slow, to deal with the issue by the U.S. and other western countries.
A. Q. Khan is an interesting person.Clearly he is very intelligent, but at times a bit careless and foolhardy.He used his circumstances and the political situation in the world skillfully to get the technology and money and other resources from numerous sources.He allowed the development in Pakistan to be looked at as the creation of an "Islamic Bomb" to other Muslim countries, but had no issue with dealing with North Korea as well, and so in his way he was simply a capitalist, dealing in a product which was not approved of in the west.He also used capitalism in the west to purchase what he needed.Companies would sell it to him, because otherwise someone else would, and if something was completely prohibited, then he would buy the components.
From a perspective of stopping Pakistan and Khan, attempts were made, and even successful for periods of time, but what happened again and again was that more immediate concerns would trump non-proliferation goals.Whether it was the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or the perceived terror threat after September 11th, time and time again the U.S. Government, and the Europeans would have their attentions focused elsewhere and Pakistan and Khan were not their biggest problem, and that Pakistan was too useful in dealing with other issues to crack down on them.
"Shopping for Bombs" covers a very interesting subject and the events within it will continue to shape our world for a long time to come.If non-proliferation is important, what can we do to keep focus on that issue, or is the genie out of the bottle now and we simply have to live with the fact that any country and perhaps any organization, can procure nuclear weapons if they have the funds and the will?It is not an easy question to answer, and the answers may not be easy to live with.The writing in this book was a bit repetitive for my tastes, but definitely readable.It probably could have been significantly shorter without the repetition of events, and perhaps it was put in to pad the book to about 250 pages.It does have a good set of notes though, and I would give it three and a half stars if I could, but they don't allow that so I am rounding down to three.
Informative, a little boring.
The critics on the back cover of the book rave about it being all exciting, but I felt like it dragged on.It is very detailed and informative, and helps put the entire situation of AQ Khan and his proliferation threat into perspective.
Shopping for Bombs
This is a good book which illustrates how short term policy making by the U.S. and other world powers allowed a complex and effective nuclear proliferation network to occur.It also points out that capitalistic greed by companies based in Europe allowed the sale of components which can and were likely to be used for the enrichment of uranium to weapons grade fissile material, demonstrating the loop holes in international trade regulation.
Good book, great info and insights; tough reading
Even as a well-read history teacher, this book has taught me a considerable amount about A.Q. Khan, Pakistan's foremost nuclear scientist, and his success in proliferating nuclear technology.
While this books jumps through both time and location on a number of occasions it is still easy to follow, even if reading the book itself is not.
This book contains numerous interesting pieces of information and helps create a unique prism in which to view President Bush's foreign policy decisions from 2001-2006.
I will end this review with a quote found near the end of the book and which I hope to discuss with my classes in the future:
"In the midst of the Iraq War, Khan, the world's most dangerous proliferator, had been put out of business, Libya had been disarmed, and Musharrah was preserved to fight other battles.It might not be ideal for many in Washington but it was enough.But was it?
This book is highly recommended and is well worth the few dollars that is being asked on Amazon.com for a used copy.Pick your's up today and see what has been happening behind the "nuclear scene" for the last decade.
Actual Man who achived this for his country-Dr. Alam
All the world knows that Dr. A. Q. Khan (Khan) stole but incomplete diagrams & he initailly thoughts he can make bomb with few technicians but this was his Deputy Dr. G. D. Alam (Dr. Alam) who told him that you can't do this without proper manpower.
Dr. Alam is the actual man behind this achivement for Pakistan and he is the man who achived this for Pakistan (Dr. Alam died on 5th December 2000). (This is Dr. Alam once said that "History don't lie" this is true.
This is the book 1st time mentioned Dr. Alam as his deputy, which means his investigation and research is very thorough, Dr Alam is the man who negotiated with all seller throughout the world for Pakistan's bomb, but refuse to help Dr. Khan sell the technology for personal gain)
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