Book Notification

Harvey Wheeler Books In Order

Book links take you to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn money from qualifying purchases.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Fail-Safe (With: Eugene Burdick) (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Lattimore the Scholar (1953)Description / Buy at Amazon
The politics of revolution (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
Democracy In A Revolutionary Era (1972)Description / Buy at Amazon
Beyond the Punitive Society (1973)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Structure of Human Reflexion (1989)Description / Buy at Amazon

Harvey Wheeler was an American responsible for the novel ‘Fail Safe’ which explored the possibilities of nuclear conflict in the modern age. Harvey was always on the frontline of innovation.

He championed the use of the internet as a tool through which enlightenment and democracy could be achieved.


Harvey Wheeler was born in Waco, Texas in 1918. Most people agree that Harvey lived a pretty full life, eventually passing away in 2004 due to cancer. Even though Harvey clearly had the mind of a scholar, he went into the army in 1941 like most people his age.

Eventually returning to civilian life in 1946, it is generally agreed that the army was a defining aspect of the author’s life, influencing his approaching to fiction writing. With his fighting days behind him, the author decided to continue the education he had started at Subiaco Academy by attending Indiana University.

It is there that Harvey Wheeler got his BA and MA. He also enjoyed a stint at Harvard where he acquired his Ph.D., this paving the way for the author to land a teaching position at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Harvey loved political science. It is a field he pursued even after moving to Washington and Lee University. After becoming head of the Political Science department, the author made it his goal to expand political science.

He wanted other disciplines to be injected into the subject, though it is arguable that he succeeded to the extent that he hoped. Some of the author’s later achievements include founding the Institute of Higher Studies, a research center near Carpinteria, and pushing rather fervently for the embracing of online teaching, learning, and publishing.

Besides his work as a Francis Baron Scholar, Harvey Wheeler’s literary efforts are expected to live on in the many books he either edited or contributed to.

+Literary Career

Some people would argue against the notion of referring to Harvey Wheeler as a literary author because his efforts were more academic than anything else. However, Harvey’s bibliography does include a few fictional undertakings in literature and that more than qualifies him to enjoy the title of literary author.

It isn’t surprising to learn that Harvey’s first book of note was academic in nature. Titled ‘The Conservative Crisis’, the book was an exploration of the Conservative party in America and the manner in which it was being forced to change in response to prevailing circumstances.

The book didn’t make any lasting waves, though that didn’t matter to the author who had moved to Santa Barbara to work at the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions. Harvey occupied that particular role for fifteen years.

Things changed in the 1960s. The Cold War came into the picture, paving the way for a whole slew of fiction and nonfiction works exploring the possibility of nuclear war.

Names like Fletcher Knebel and Charles W Bailey were made during those days. American paranoia was at an all-time high, the result of the Cuban missile crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall and a litany of other potentially catastrophic occurrences that painted a bleak landscape.

SO Harvey Wheeler joined his colleagues in adding another title on the shelf preying on the fear of atomic disaster. ‘Fail-Safe’, Harvey’s first notable fictional work, was a big hit. The realism of the story Harvey told scared readers and added another notch to the quiver of fear that gripped the country.

‘Fail-Safe’ was the result of numerous short works that Harvey had produced beforehand, all of them exploring the possibility of nuclear disaster. ‘Fail-Safe’ came about during Harvey’s stint as a professor at Washington and Lee.

The author wrote the book with Eugene Burdick. As a naval officer and tutor at the Naval War College, Eugene had speculated on numerous occasions about the possibility of an accident sparking an American/Soviet nuclear confrontation.

Eugene became Harvey’s brain trust, providing him all the minutiae about war and, in particular, nuclear confrontation that he needed to add a sense of authenticity to his book. Even though the book is often marketed under Eugene’s name, it can be argued that Harvey Wheeler shepherded the writing process across the finish line.

‘Fail-Safe’ was a massive hit and it sparked a debate amongst readers who ruminated over the possibility of the events in its pages actually happening.

Harvey had the opportunity to see the book become a successful Sidney Lumet movie in 1964, starring the likes of Henry Fonda and Fritz Weaver. A second adaptation, a television version, was produced in 2000 and that one featured names like George Clooney and Harvey Keitel.

‘Fail-Safe’ encountered some controversy during its earlier years. Harvey was accused of plagiarizing a book called ‘Red Alert’ by Peter George, a British author. There are various differences between ‘Red Alert’ and ‘Fail-Safe’. However, the fact they both books told a story exploring a potential nuclear war between the Soviet Union and America raised a hullabaloo.

The situation was only put to rest after Peter George received an out of court settlement.

+Fail Safe

Disaster is fast approaching. American Bombers are on their way to Moscow, armed with nuclear weapons, already past the point where they can be recalled. The president of America is a calm young man all too consumed with his talks with Premier Khrushchev.

He is unaware of the panic in the Pentagon as the secretary of defense watches nuclear calamity streak towards Moscow.

This Harvey Wheeler novel takes readers into the corridors of power in the United States and the Soviet Union as a computer accidentally initiates a nuclear attack on Moscow and everyone involved does everything in their power to stop the attack.

The book has been described as claustrophobic in many places. Readers are thrust into the action at a crisis point in the world’s history.

+Tomorrow: Science Fiction and the Future

This book is an anthology to which Harvey Wheeler contributed. The stories told within attempt to look at the world as it will appear in the future. They consider the nature of machines and the way they will change society.

Accidental nuclear war and the discovery of life on other planets also feature prominently. Harvey adds his voice to that of numerous other authors who are trying to basically predict the future.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Harvey Wheeler

Leave a Reply