This novel involved an acutal nuclear device, but the aim was not simple destruction, but to get the USA to think the Russians did it, and therefore to retaliate against them. I think it did a good job of illustrating how people can come up with the wrong conclusions when they have limited info and time. In this scenario, people also tended to think of just one possibility, instead of thinking about what else could be the cause. Especially hard under time pressure.
"If you can't trust your shadowy overlords to keep a secret, what it the purpose of voting in a puppet democracy?"