THE SAMSON OPTION: ISRAEL'S NUCLEAR ARSENAL AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
The Samson Option explodes one of the world's most closely guarded secrets -- the secret of Israel's atomic arsenal. It relates, for the first time, the political, diplomatic, and military repercussions that have for decades been concealed from the world.
It is also about America's ability not to see what it does not want to see. All American presidents since John F. Kennedy have turned a blind eye toward Israel's growing nuclear capacity while paying lip service to the goal of nuclear nonproliferation.
In The Samson Option, Seymour M. Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winner who wrote the first account of the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam, reveals one of the classic clandestine operations of our time: Israel's spectacular underground nuclear facility in the Negev Desert, where its technicians and scientists began manufacturing nuclear warheads in the late 1960s. It describes the bitter infighting within the Israeli government over the bomb and its huge cost. It tells how the money fur the nuclear program was raised abroad, and how the early technology was acquired with the aid of France. And it shows how and when Israel threatened to use its nuclear power.
The Samson Option reveals many startling events that played a secret and significant role in the history of our times from the early 1960s through the Gulf War:
The Samson Option is ultimately a narrative of how the bomb influenced the diplomatic relations between Israel and America far more than was seen or understood by the press and the public. It shows that, in every sense, Israel was born a nuclear power. Since its founding, some of its leaders, including David Ben-Gurion and Ernst David Bergmann -- the little-known scientist who was the father of the Israeli bomb -- were determined that no future enemy would be able to carry out another Holocaust. Just as Samson brought down the temple and killed himself along with his enemies, so would Israel destroy those who sought its destruction.
The message of The Samson Option is stark: The next Middle East war might very well be nuclear.
SEYMOUR M. HERSH was born in Chicago in 1937 and graduated from the University of Chicago. He began his newspaper career in that city as a police reporter. After army service, he joined United Press International and then the Associated Press. He served as press secretary and speech writer for Senator Eugene H. McCarthy in the 1968 New Hampshire Democratic primary campaign. In 1969, as a free-lance journalist, Mr. Hersh wrote the first account of the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam. He worked for the New York Times in Washington and New York for seven years until his resignation in 1979 to write a book about Henry Kissinger. He has twice rejoined the Times on special assignment.
Mr. Hersh has won more than a dozen major journalism prizes, including the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, George Polk Awards, Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Awards, the Worth Bingham Prize, the Drew Pearson Award, the John Peter Zenger Freedom of the Press Award, and the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award. He is also the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House.
He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and three children.
About the Author
SEYMOUR M. HERSH was born in Chicago in 1937 and graduated from the University of Chicago. He began his newspaper career as a police reporter for the City News Bureau in Chicago. After Army service, he was hired by United Press International in Pierre, South Dakota. In 1963 he joined the Associated Press in Chicago and in 1965 went to Washington for the AP to cover the Pentagon. He served as press secretary and speechwriter for Senator Eugene H. McCarthy in the famed "Children's Crusade" -- the 1968 New Hampshire Democratic primary campaign against Lyndon Johnson. In 1969, as a free-lance journalist, Mr. Hersh wrote the first account of the My Lai massacre in South Vietnam, distributing five newspaper stories on the atrocity through Dispatch News Service. He was hired by the New York Times in 1972 and worked out of Washington and New York until his resignation in 1979 to write The Price of Power. In 1986, he rejoined the Times's Washington bureau to write a series of critical articles about Panama's Manuel Noriega. He again joined the Times in Washington in September 1991, on a special assignment.
Mr. Hersh has won more than a dozen major journalism prizes. For his account of the My Lai massacre he earned the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, the George Polk Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Distinguished Service Award, and the Worth Bingham Prize. For his reporting on the secret B-52 bombing of Cambodia, he was accorded the Roy M. Howard Public Service Award and a second Polk Award in 1974. The next year he won the Drew Pearson Award, the John Peter Zenger Freedom of the Press Award, the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award, and a third Polk Award for his stories on the CIA and Chile and on CIA domestic spying. In 1981 he received a second Sigma Delta Chi Award and his fourth Polk Award for two articles in the New York Times Magazine on the involvement of former CIA agents in arms sales to Libya. He is also the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award for The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House.
Mr. Hersh's previous books are Chemical and Biological Warfare: America's Hidden Arsenal; My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath; Cover-up: The Army's Secret Investigation of the Massacre of My Lai; The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House; and "The Target Is Destroyed": What Really Happened to Flight 007 and What America Knew About It. His articles have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the New York Times Magazine, and the New Republic. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and three children.