Reagan, God, and the Bomb: From Myth to Policy in the Nuclear Arms Race


343 pages
Contains Bibliography
ISBN 0-7710-4543-3





Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein is a history professor at York University and author of
War and Peacekeeping and For Better or For Worse.


Professor Fred Knelman is a Montreal peace activist, and his book was undoubtedly written to further his cause. Unfortunately, the reverse is true, and the cause of peace can only suffer from this dreadful diatribe. First, the book is badly written, not well proofread, and printed in small type with references placed right into the text in a highly annoying fashion. But most important, the argument, signaled in the title, is carried on at a level that only a true believer who shares all of the author’s preconceptions and biases can accept. President Reagan and the United States, pressing the world toward nuclear war so that biblical prophecies of Armageddon become self-fulfilling, are villainous beyond redemption; Prime Minister Mulroney is a satrap of Washington and a fool to boot; and the Soviet Union, while not perfect (it is active in Afghanistan, Knelman owns), is the only true crusader for peace. This is demonology, not serious study, and while many readers will share Knelman’s view of Reagan and Mulroney, few, I suspect, are prepared to believe that they drink the blood of the poor every morning instead of apple juice. Readers interested in a Canadian view of the issues of nuclear war in the 1980s should read instead Simon Rosenblum’s Misguided Missiles (1985), a much sounder, much better written and briefer account.


Knelman, F.H., “Reagan, God, and the Bomb: From Myth to Policy in the Nuclear Arms Race,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024,