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The Strangelove Legacy: Children, Parents and Teachers in the Nuclear Age

Keith Berndtson, MD
JAMA. 1987;258(5):707-708. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03400050149048.
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Thinking about nuclear weapons has been a part of growing up for a mere 40 years. Formal research into how awareness of nuclear weapons factors into one's outlook on life began only 20 years ago. The lion's share of analysis and debate on the subject has taken place in the past decade. In that time, a growth in peace and antinuclear activism on the left has spurred reactionary criticism from the right, and ostensibly nonaligned academics have found room for controversy as well. In the process, issues of nuclear awareness have taken on new dimensions. Phyllis La Farge, a contributing editor to Parents magazine, tackles these issues in The Strangelove Legacy.

She has done an admirable job. The book proceeds systematically from considerations of how many children think about nuclear catastrophe and in what ways, to questions of what impact this nuclear awareness has on cognitive and behavioral development at


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