Dominick Donald in The Guardian:
It seems a little surreal to be thinking about nuclear weapons at a time when the UK has just been attacked by NHS doctors attempting to turn propane gas and black powder into fuel-air bombs. But Trident is to be replaced, Iran still appears committed to acquiring the bomb, North Korea has yet to set it aside, and hanging over our heads is the oft-spoken fear that fanatics might get hold of nuclear weapons technology and immolate a city. It is these fears that set the scene for PD Smith’s Doomsday Men and William Langewiesche’s The Atomic Bazaar.
Doomsday Men follows the chicken-and-egg circle of extraordinary scientific achievement, and the fiction that fed off it, to show how the idea of the doomsday weapon made possible the reality by preparing the political, cultural and – particularly among scientists – moral grounds for its acceptance. The Atomic Bazaar, on the other hand, investigates the drift of nuclear weapons technology from the hands of the rich world to those of the poor, attempting to ascertain where the 21st-century nuclear threat might really lie. It is basically two Vanity Fair essays bolted together in one slim, light, overpriced volume; it says nothing that hasn’t been said more weightily elsewhere, but does it very nicely, and without taking itself too seriously.
Doomsday Men, on the other hand, suffers from portentousness.