Before I found it on Amazon.com’s free downloads page, I had actually never heard of this book, which was the basis of the movie “Dr. Strangelove.” In fact, I’d not seen the movie, either, but although I just saw it yesterday, I did have a general idea of what it was about.
This book was a very quick read (I managed to read a large percentage of it while in the bathroom; I’m not sure whether I should be proud or ashamed of this point, but since I’ve been sick this week, I suppose it’s understandable). The main difference between this book and the Stanley Kubrick movie is the tone. Of course, there are a few different plot points (The character of Dr. Strangelove doesn’t even exist in the novel, for example), but whereas the movie is satirical, the book is quite serious.
If you don’t know about the book or movie, it’s basically a story about a B-52 bomber crew in the late 50s or early 60s. The crew gets an order from a rogue general to carry its bomb to its target in Russia, and the main bulk of the story revolves around the efforts by the government to call back the bomber, the efforts by the general to justify his decision, and the efforts of the crew to carry out their mission. It was a little bit suspenseful, but although I know I probably shouldn’t feel this way, the threat of a nuclear war just doesn’t seem as scary in this day and age.
In any case, the book is no longer on Amazon’s free list, but you may be able to find the digital copy for cheap elsewhere. It’s definitely worth following Amazon’s free page, however, since gems like this can crop up now and again.