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'There Were Serious Nuclear War Plans About North Korea': Fred Kaplan On Book 'The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, And The Secret History Of Nuclear War'

(CBS Local)-- An atomic bomb hasn't been used since World War II, but nuclear strategy is constantly being tinkered with in Washington D.C.

Author Fred Kaplan shares many untold stories about presidents and generals who have talked about and avoided nuclear war in his new Simon & Schuster book, "The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, And The Secret History Of Nuclear War."

The book features stories about President John F. Kennedy's back and forth with Russia, President Ronald Reagan's relationship with Mikhail Gorbachev, and President Donald Trump's bold statements about America's nuclear weapons.

"When Reagan met with Gorbachev in Iceland and note takers took notes, you can read them in Russian and English, they talked about this stuff for 10 hours in great detail," said Kaplan in an interview with CBS Local's DJ Sixsmith. "Reagan was thoroughly briefed on this stuff. He had some weird ideas about some things, but he understood the implications of these ideas. I can't imagine Trump having a conversation about this for 10 minutes."


While Kaplan has studied and written about the White House and nuclear weapons for decades, his new book was inspired by President Trump's words about North Korea.

"The reason why I wrote this book is because people suddenly became frightened about nuclear weapons," said Kaplan. "Six months into his term, he comes out on the lawn at his golf club in New Jersey and warns North Korea that he will reign fire and fury like the earth has never seen on North Korea. Not if they attack us, but if they keep making threatening remarks about us and keep testing weapons. I've discovered through interviewing a lot of people that there were very serious nuclear war plans going on about North Korea at his insistence."

"The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, And The Secret History Of Nuclear War" is available now wherever books are sold.

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