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Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack [Hardcover]

Susan Roy

Price: £35.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Susan Roy pairs illustrations with incisive commentary to reveal just how deluded we used to be about prepping for the all-too-thinkable nuclear attack. O, The Oprah Magazine An enticing visual history of the fallout shelter, which allowed cold war anxiety to be cheerfully reconfigured as a home story and gave the phrase nuclear family new meaning a piquant analysis of nuclear housekeeping. The New York Times Bomboozled actually does bring back lots of memories and a certain anger that we were so bamboozled by so many who had something to gain from our primal fears. The book addresses how industry collaborated with government to scare the bejeesus out of us, and then convince us everything would be just fine - if we protected ourselves with expensive products. --The Atlantic

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bomboozled foe decades 11 Aug 2011
By Nicholi A. Petrella - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a book to hold in your hands. Glory in it's weight and size. Love the pictures. As a child of the fifties, I hid under my desk as told. Then my dad, who was in the Air Force, told me...that is so they can find all the bodies together. That was the beginning of an idea that "They" were not telling us everything we needed to know. The pictures of proper bomb shelters, with phones and air vents and stacks of food...including Jello, are amazing. Who are these folks going to call? Is there refrigeration? But the last two pages are the ones that really grab you. They deal with the now. We are still being bomboozled. Great book, buy it and share.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating book that shows we really haven't learned much after all... 18 July 2011
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Step back to the height of the nuclear cold war in the United States, when the possibility of a nuclear attack by the Russians meant that we could all die in an instant... vaporized by the heat of a million suns. That is, unless you had a... BOMB SHELTER! Susan Roy does an excellent job with her portrayal of that schizophrenic time in her book Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack. It's amazing how easily we were led into both fearing a nuclear attack and believing that surviving one was a relatively simple matter. As Roy shows, the gap between image and reality was huge.

Atomic Anxiety; You Can Survive!; Better Homes and Bunkers; Nuclear Housekeeping; Drop-Dead Gorgeous; Shelter Skelter; Plastic Sheeting & Duct Tape; Bibliography, Credits, and Index; Acknowledgements

Roy uses the oversized dimensions of this book to capture the tone and flavor of the time by using an abundance of images from actual publications of that period. Government publications tout how to build basement shelters that will protect your family from dreaded fallout, and magazine articles cover the essentials of what you'll need to have in the way of supplies to survive the nuclear holocaust (provided it doesn't last much longer than about a week). Of course, there are numerous companies who will sell and/or build your shelter for you, creating a cozy little (emphasis on "little") hideaway to ride out those critical first days until everything gets back to "normal." All the pictures show "typical" American families happily riding out the emergency, with Father in his tweed jacket and Mother in her high heels, looking all proper and put together. In reality, most of the shelters would have been dark and hot, with stale air and no (and we mean "no") accounting for toilet facilities. Yes, you may survive the initial blast and fallout, but would the shelter end up killing you instead? Quite possibly...

While it's easy to look at Bomboozled and think we've gotten so much smarter since then, Roy doesn't let us off the hook that easily. All she has to do is bring up the mania over plastic sheeting and duct tape that was the government-recommended plan to fend off the effects of a biological, chemical, or nuclear attack after 9/11. The government is still pushing the twin goals of having a population that fears the danger of an attack, while making them think that it's a simple matter of preparation to ensure your survival. Roy shows that we really haven't learned much after all.

As I was reading this, I wondered how many of these family bomb shelters lie buried and forgotten in neighborhoods around America. Even more intriguing is that the New York World's Fair had a complete underground home as an exhibit, and there's a strong possibility that it was just covered over after the Fair was finished. Does it still exist underground, waiting to be "discovered" like so many of the forgotten subway stations in the city? It'd be fascinating to find a forgotten bomb shelter and see how it held up after decades of being buried.

If you have any interest in nuclear warfare and how it played out in the general population, Bomboozled is a highly recommended read. Not only will you find a treasure trove of material that shaped our thinking and actions, but you'll also see how we haven't gotten beyond certain mindsets in all these years.

Obtained From: Library
Payment: Borrowed
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bombtastic! 19 May 2011
By William D. Geerhart - Published on Amazon.com
I absolutely loved this book! It is brilliantly designed and a marvel to behold--just the kind of package that will never translate to an e-Reader (no matter how advanced those gadgets get). No, this book has real weight to it and the bold color and black and white images leap out at you like an atomic flash. Susan Roy's fantastic collection of Cold War imagery (news photos, government pamphlets, graphics, etc.) will have you dwelling on each page in shock and awe for weeks.
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Cool Book With Lots of Pictures - Great for Kids, Too 5 Mar 2014
By Erika - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated with underground bunkers, bomb shelters, etc. I credit my obsession with my first visit to the Smithsonian American History Museum in D.C., where they have a life size bunker that you can stare at while walking through the exhibit. If you haven't been before, go there - All of the Smithsonian museums are awesome and fascinating, for kids AND adults.

This book is full of old advertisements and photos of the atomic era in America. It's really quite incredible to flip through the book, read a bit here and there, and come to the realization that all of the bomb shelter promotion in the 40s/50s was pretty much a hoax imposed on U.S. citizens by our own government. In reality, about 97% of the bomb shelters sold and promoted at the time would have offered no real aide in avoiding radiation or the bomb blasts themselves, had another country decided to obliterate us.

It's understandable that to keep citizens calm and compliant that our government (or that of any other country) took those measures to convince us that we all could be safe, no matter what. Funny, the games people play.

My favorite advertisement was for an Atomic Energy Lab sold to children that included radioactive uranium ore and a Geiger counter so they could make their own nuclear power. Yes, this was a real 'toy' pushed before the holidays in the early 50s. It was quite pricey so it didn't do well, luckily. Really very cool to see today, but not so much when your 10 year old had it out in the front yard.

Bottom line = I highly recommend this book if you are any sort of history buff and/or like museum exhibits, etc. This is really like an enlightening museum in a book and I believe folks of any age could learn something by glancing through it.
5.0 out of 5 stars the last shelter book you will buy 8 Jun 2012
By Lee007 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I happened to buy this after reading a few of the dry, cookie-cutter "serious" type nuclear fallout shelter books. It turned out to be the most informative and realistic look into the evolution behind the homeowner/family type shelter "movement" with a very readable and lighthearted tone. Types/models of construction are covered from the "classic" and super basic corner of the basement shelter to pictures of the most livable underground "house" with a high ceiling painted with clouds, fake trees, and artificial dawn to dusk effect lighting. Has somewhat dark humor at times (as seen through modern eyes) as it references many examples of 50's era "fear the bomb" themed magazine/newspaper ads, which I thought added flavor, as it brings you back to the mentality of the time. Start with this book first and I guarantee you won't need many more.
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