Superb New Book by CT Affiliate Head

Ashley Thorne

We are proud to recognize that Jay Bergman, president of the NAS Connecticut affiliate and professor of history at Central Connecticut State University, has published a new book, Meeting the Demands of Reason: The Life and Thought of Andrei Sakharov. The 411-page, 22 ounce book about the nuclear physicist who helped create the Soviet hydrogen bomb but then became the “moral anchor of a dissident movement” represents the culmination of eleven years of careful research and writing.  

We eagerly look forward to reading Meeting the Demands of Reason. Here are some reviews by others who have read it:

"Meeting the Demands of Reason is a serious, thoroughly researched account of one of Russia's intellectual giants, whose extraordinary courage and wisdom were matched by his modesty."

—Richard Pipes, Professor of History, Emeritus, Harvard University

"In Meeting the Demands of Reason, Jay Bergman treats Andrei Sakharov not just as a scientist and activist, but as a complex subject whose scientific and political thinking were interrelated. Bergman is a fine writer and has an amazing grasp of Sakharov's scientific, philosophical, and political work.  His well-researched biography reminds us that Sakharov was an extraordinary physicist, a thought-provoking political essayist, a devoted defender of human rights, and a concerned citizen of a troubled nation."

—Kathleen E. Smith, author of Remembering Stalin's Victims and Mythmaking in the New Russia

"In this superb intellectual history, Jay Bergman illuminates the rise of the public citizen in the USSR, from Stalin to Gorbachev, explaining how physicist Andrei Sakharov moved from unquestioningly developing nuclear weapons for the Soviet state to raising questions about universal human rights and even the legitimacy of the USSR. Sakharov, by a combination of introspection, reason, and force of personality, determined to fight the arbitrary and capricious regime. These traits allowed Sakharov to survive when the Party leadership labeled him a traitor and spy in several public campaigns and eventually exiled him to Gorky, and to engage Mikhail Gorbachev—and Soviet society —in debates about perestroika. Bergman explores the evolution of Sakharov’s views of arms control, nuclear power, dissidence, and human rights through a careful reading of Sakharov’s extensive opus. Meeting the Demands of Reason is an important contribution to Soviet social, political, and cultural history—and to the history of science in its analysis of scientists’ claims to have privilege about some kind of universal truth."

—Paul R. Josephson, Colby College



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