In the nuclear age, arms are the ultimate commodity. And now they are easier and cheaper to acquire and make than ever before - which means that for poor nations or non-state terror groups, weapons of mass destruction are up for grabs. William Langewiesche looks at how nuclear weapons have gone wholesale. He visits the smuggling routes in Turkey and closed Russian 'nuclear cities' where highly enriched uranium is on sale. He meets technicians, smugglers and spies. And he tells the extraordinary story of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist who stole plans to build Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.
William Langewiesche is an author and journalist. He is currently international correspondent for Vanity Fair, having made his name writing for Atlantic Monthly. His strong, evocative prose is used to devastating effect on a range of issues, from the war in Iraq, where he travels extensively outside the Green Zone, to USA-Mexican border disputes and Balkan military deployment. Before embarking on a writing career, he spent two decades as a professional pilot, having performed his first solo flight by the age of fourteen. Langewiesche is the author of five previous books, including The Outlaw Sea and American Ground, an account of clean-up of the Twin Towers. He has been termed one of the leading writers of The New New Journalism, a group of writers who have secured a place at the centre of contemporary American literature, as Tom Wolfe and The New Journalism did in the sixties.