Peter Nichols


It was a time when, in the nation's schools, drills for nuclear war were as frequent as fire drills- when Americans and their Soviet counterparts lived with a constant fear of imminent worldwide destruction. "You had a cultural mindset that was apocalyptic," said Robert S. Weisbrot, Christian A. Johnson Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at Colby, "that believed you could not guarantee that your wonderful suburban home and family and community...would survive ten more seconds."

"It was not simply a matter of two countries that are adversaries building up weapons," said Weisbrot. "Each saw the other as the incarnation of evil. And if you view an adversary as not simply a rival but as a devil, then you see anything as possible and even probable."

We did survive the Cold War, unscathed if not unscarred. Yet the remnants of that superpower standoff survive in the literature of the period and in the knowledge that the weapons of that time have not disappeared. Frank Malinoski '76 and Daniel Traister '63 have spent years delving into the aftermath. For Traister it is the literary legacy of lives spent in the nuclear shadow. For Malinoski it is the super-secret world of biological weapons.


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