By Whitney Pastorek
Updated May 25, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

In The Atomic Bazaar, a series of articles originally penned for The Atlantic Monthly, William Langewiesche examines the problems of proliferation in a nuclear world, and the way that fear of retaliation between superpowers has left the most dangerous weapons in the hands of the poorest nations. In clear, almost chatty prose, he explores the shady marketplaces of Istanbul and the secret cities of Russia, but spends more than half the book on the history of A.Q. Khan, the scientist and spy who brought nuclear power to Pakistan. While Khan’s story is an important cautionary tale, Langewiesche’s decision to focus on a single man leaves one thirsting for the big picture. B