Apocalypse Never by Tad Daley

About This Book
About The Author
Advance Endorsements
Book Reviews
Public Appearances

Apocalypse Never illuminates why we must abolish nuclear weapons, how we can, and what the world will look like after we do. The twenty-first century has ushered in a world at the atomic edge. The pop culture days of Dr. Strangelove have been replaced by the all-too-real single day of 24. Tad Daley has written a book for the general reader about this most crucial of contemporary challenges.

Apocalypse Never maintains that the abolition of nuclear weapons is both essential and achievable, and reveals in fine detail what we need to do–both governments and movements–to make it a reality. Daley insists that while global climate change poses the single greatest long-term peril to the human race, the nuclear challenge in its many incarnations–nuclear terror, nuclear accident, a nuclear crisis spinning out of control–poses the single most immediate peril. Daley launches a wholesale assault on the nuclear double standard–the notion that the United States permits itself thousands of these weapons but forbids others from aspiring to even one–insisting that it is militarily unnecessary, morally indefensible, and politically unsustainable. He conclusively repudiates the most frequent objection to nuclear disarmament, “the breakout scenario”–the possibility that after abolition someone might whip back the curtain, reveal a dozen nuclear warheads, and proceed to “rule the world.”

Apocalypse Never makes the case that a comprehensive U.S. nuclear policy agenda, one that fully integrates nonproliferation with disarmament, can both eliminate immediate nuclear dangers and set us irreversibly on the road to abolition — perhaps even the “Nuclear Ban Treaty” negotiated at the United Nations in 2017. In jargon-free language, Daley explores the possible verification measures, enforcement mechanisms, and governance structures of a nuclear weapon-free world. Most importantly, he decisively argues that universal nuclear disarmament is something we can transform from a utopian fantasy into a concrete political goal.


Tad Daley, JD, PhD, has worked extensively in the Democratic Party, the think tank world, and the grassroots advocacy arena. He previously served as a speechwriter for Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the late U.S. Senator Alan Cranston, as a visiting scholar at the UCLA Burkle Center for International Relations, and as a member of the International Policy Department at the RAND Corporation. He is today a Fellow with Citizens for Global Solutions in Washington, D.C. He writes frequently for TruthDig, CommonDreams, AlterNet, TruthOut, and the HuffingtonPost. And Tad is currently writing his second book — about reinventing the United Nations, about global citizenship and planetary patriotism, and about the history and future of the ancient idea that someday a world republic might serve as the solution to the problem of war. Learn more at www.daleyplanet.org and www.globalsolutions.org.


“My film Apocalypse Now revealed how war corrupts the human soul. But the idea that we can have peace only through ‘nuclear deterrence’ degrades our entire civilization. With Apocalypse Never, Tad Daley shows us the path of escape.”
—Martin Sheen, Emmy-Award Winning Actor

“While spiritual progressives seek to end all war, a major step is to end the threat of nuclear war. Tad Daley shows us that this is actually within our grasp, and an imperative for the survival of our planet and life itself.”
—Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun and chair, Interfaith Network of Spiritual Progressives

“Tad Daley makes a compelling case for eliminating nuclear weapons now, before they are used intentionally by a terrorist group or accidentally by a nuclear-armed nation. The weight of the evidence supplied in Apocalypse Never leads to an inescapable conclusion: the fewer nuclear weapons there are, the safer we all will be. And it makes it clear that our ultimate security depends on getting rid of these terrible weapons once and for all.”
—William D. Hartung, Center for International Policy

Apocalypse Never is an important and path-breaking book. Tad Daley doesn’t just look at why we should strive to eliminate nuclear weapons, he demonstrates how to make it happen. This book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand how to turn a grand vision into a political reality.”
—John Podesta, Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, founder of the Center for American Progress, and Campaign Chair of Hillary for America 2016

“Tad Daley has performed a truly rare feat. He doesn’t offer the same tired survey of Iran and North Korea and the contemporary nuclear landscape. Instead, he convinces the reader completely that the only possible solution to the threat of nuclear annihilation is the abolition of nuclear weapons. Moreover, he actually charts a course for how we might get from here to there. Mr. Daley is an elegant writer, and his wonderful first book will enable both experts and regular folks to see, breathe, and believe in the dawn of a nuclear weapon-free world.”
—Daniel Ellsberg, author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

“Tad Daley takes a penetrating look at the threat President Barack Obama calls ‘the gravest danger to the American people,’ and does so with clarity and integrity. Apocalypse Never details how the failed policies of the past have made the nuclear threat worse and how the only real solution is to move steadily towards eliminating the only weapons that can destroy the world. We would be wise to listen.”
—Joe Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund and author of Nuclear Nightmares.

“In plain, understandable prose, Apocalypse Never makes a compelling case that the continued existence of nuclear weapons, regardless of their ownership, can lead to catastrophic disasters. A must-read.”
—Lt. General Robert G. Gard, Jr., U.S. Army, Retired, and chair, Center for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation

“Few Americans know that more than forty years ago, in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, our country committed to eliminate its entire nuclear arsenal. In Apocalypse Never, Tad Daley traces the tortured history of this promise—and charts a course toward at last fulfilling it.”
—Michael Douglas, Academy-Award Winning Actor, United Nations Messenger of Peace

Apocalypse Never builds a compelling case for one of the most urgent causes of our time—the global abolition of nuclear weapons. Tad Daley writes with all the seriousness the subject requires, but refreshingly eschews the jargon too often applied by ‘experts’ that estranges those not conversant in the lingo.”
—Kevin Martin, executive director, Peace Action

“For those of us who think that freeing the planet from the specter of nuclear holocaust is the most important task before humankind, but also one that’s nearly impossible to achieve, Tad Daley has drawn us a roadmap for the journey ahead. It demands no wild leaps of faith, no suspensions of disbelief. Mixing political sobriety with existential urgency and just plain damn good writing, Daley shows us the way.”
—Harold Meyerson, columnist, The Washington Post and editor-at-large, The American Prospect

“Finally, a book that explains in common sense language the process for bringing a nuclear weapon-free world from utopia to reality.”
—Congressman Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, 1997–2013

Apocalypse Never describes why the abolition of nuclear weapons is both imperative and possible. In clear, everyday prose, Tad Daley breathes new life into the anti-nuclear movement with a strong sense of hope and an inspiring call to action.”
—Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles

“Americans have ignored two facts about nuclear weapons that Tad Daley brilliantly illuminates in historical perspective. First are the consequences of what J. Robert Oppenheimer called our use of atomic bombs against ‘an essentially defeated enemy.’ Second is our responsibility for promoting nuclear deterrence as a legitimate policy. We are thus largely responsible for the threat that nuclear weapons pose to the continued survival of humanity, and we are the only nation capable of successfully leading an effort to abolish nuclear weapons. Can we do it? Yes we can, and Apocalypse Never shows us how.”
—Martin J. Sherwin, University Professor of History at George Mason University and coauthor of American Prometheus, winner of the Pulitzer Prize


Valerie Plame, former CIA counterproliferation operative and now best-selling spy novelist (and played by Naomi Watts in the film Fair Game), opened her review by saying this: Apocalypse Never is a frightening book to read but impossible to put down. In clear, accessible prose, Tad Daley unblinkingly lays out the case for why we must ultimately rid the world of nuclear weapons or else suffer the inevitable consequences of the end of civilization … Daley then takes on the task of showing how this seemingly Herculean task can be accomplished, even within our lifetimes. It is compelling and accurate in its assessments and one of the absolute best out there…”

Charles Ferguson, President of the Federation of American Scientists and author of Nuclear Energy: What Everyone Needs to Know, said this: “Even many skeptics of nuclear disarmament would likely grok with the arguments made by Tad Daley in his well-written Apocalypse Never. … He endeavors to demonstrate that nuclear disarmament is not science fiction. … shines a spotlight on hubris and nuclear weapons … uncovers the toughest hurdle for disarmament … and compels readers to work toward a world free of nuclear weapons.”

Anne Penketh, former diplomatic editor for the UK Independent and foreign correspondent for Agence France-Presse, said this: “If you have a nuclear addiction, Dr. Tad Daley has the cure … Two things distinguish this work … Daley’s chatty style, which … renders his book accessible to the general public … (and) his prescription for reaching global zero, through his detailed description of the architecture of a nuclear weapon-free world founded on a legally binding treaty that would replace the NPT.”

Lawrence Wittner, professor of history at SUNY/Albany and author of the epic three volume trilogy The Struggle Against the Bomb, said this: “A spirited, ringing call for nuclear weapons abolition — including why it is imperative and how it can be achieved … Through colorful writing and a convincing argument … this informative, insightful, and powerful book argues that abolishing nuclear weapons is probably the single most important task the human race can pursue right now to ensure its long-range survival … Many people now seem sunk in a strange torpor, unable to challenge the existence of thousands of nuclear weapons that menace their future and that of generations to come. Hopefully, Apocalypse Never will help jolt them awake.”

David Krieger, president of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and author of God’s Tears and At The Nuclear Precipice, said this: “I read this book cover to cover, every word, and found it to be one of the best, if not the best, books on the subject I’ve seen. Apocalypse Never explores the dangers of the Nuclear Age, argues that the only way to prevent future nuclear catastrophes is to eliminate the weapons, and provides a roadmap to achieve this goal … It (makes clear that this) is a life-or-death struggle between humans and the tools we have created.”

And Jack McDevitt, Nebula Award winning science fiction author of Time Travelers Never Die, The Engines of God and many other novels, said that Apocalypse Never was “probably the most unsettling book I’ve ever read.”


Here is a talk that Tad delivered in 2011 at Busboys and Poets restaurant and bookstore in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the 66th anniversary of America’s atomic obliteration of Nagasaki. It has aired many times on C-SPAN BOOK TV.

Here is a talk that Tad delivered in 2011 at the International House at Columbia University.

Here is a talk that Tad delivered in 2014 as the quarterly “Culture of Peace” lecture at the American headquarters of the Soka Gakkai Buddhist Community in Santa Monica, California.

Here is a talk that Tad delivered along with former U.S. Senator and JFK White House aide Harris Wofford, at the Brearley School in NYC, for an event accompanying the official governmental 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference.

Here is Tad’s hour-long 2010 radio conversation with host Dr. Helen Caldicott — he in Winthrop, Maine and she in Bermagui, Australia — on the worldwide radio program “If You Love This Planet.”

Here is Tad’s 2010 radio conversation with host Terrance McNally on the radio program “A World That Just Might Work,” that aired on both KPFK in Los Angeles and WBAI in New York City.

Here is Tad’s 2011 radio conversation with host Don Marsh on the local NPR radio program “St Louis Today,” speaking on the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s speech in Prague — where he said that America would “seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”