Don't question reality. The Introduction by Richard Rhodes asserts that only two of the bombs shown on the cover of this book could "encapsulate as much destructive force as all the explosives used in the Second World War. World War II was a mere two-megaton war." (p. 3). I have heard how much noise a load of conventional bombs dropped by a B-52 makes landing in some mountains a few miles away, and it is easy to believe that since March 1949, the U.S. Strategic Air Command has had the power to destroy targets "in and around seventy Soviet cities (and, collaterally, the cities themselves along with several million Soviet civilians) within thirty days with only 133 atomic bombs" (p. 3), and those bombs were only atomic.
This book would have been impossible a hundred years ago: no such weapons. This book was impossible twenty years ago: in 1984, big brother would not allow anyone who did not have the need to know so much precise knowledge of what was going on. These pictures are proof, but such evidence is still subject to the height of absurdity, if anything can compare with one's own dubious experiences after imagining what this all cost: "The deafening roar brought to mind an image of a giant waterfall, with a wide, endless river of dollar bills cascading into a void" (p. xiii) in the Prologue, but logic is subject to worse reasoning when the photographer was accused "of having fabricated my earlier warhead photos. A public affairs officer said that it was impossible that they would ever have given such permission, and that the photos I was showing them must be fakes" (p. xvii). The military is largely a public institution, full of people who are quite capable of normal behavior, including a few deviations from normal conditions of secrecy when the rest of the world is expected to be entirely cowed by America's immense arsenal.
Paul Shambroom admits that he is not likely to get more pictures like these after September 11, 2001, but military authorities were still willing to help with information for the notes on pages 111-116, which include long-range plans, such as "The B-2 is expected to remain in service until 2040." (p. 116). The note for plate 78 also reveals that we have a fleet of 21 B-2 Spirit "Stealth" bombers that cost "considerably more than 2 billion dollars for each plane." (p. 115). There are not many people in the pictures, and the people are not posed, so working with an elbow and chin up in the Trident II D5 submarine missile nose assembly must be the standard procedure at the Naval Submarine Base King's Bay, Georgia, as shown in Plate 42. Reaching way inside a missile in a truck is a technician in Plate 33. Plate 2 shows a chair for the Secretary of the Air Force Sheila Widnall on December 17, 1993, when the first operational B-2 was delivered, but there are only a few women pictured in the entire book. Plate 20 shows a woman serving a twenty-four-hour "alert" at an underground Launch Control Center in Newell, South Dakota. Plate 71 might show a woman, if the wind in the Marshall Islands is ruffling her hair and making Bermuda shorts balloon out so they look like a skirt. With a military watch and sneakers that look less fancy than the striped running shoes on the guy in the picture who looks like a guy. His/her baseball cap could be an attempt to look like one of the guys. My hair is longer than anyone who is in that picture, but I'm not working at a missile site for a missile defense test.
Anyone who would like to see the sunset reflecting from the cars of a long freight train passing a Minuteman III missile silo in North Dakota might appreciate the panorama in Plate 35. Chain link fence with a few barbed wires on top hardly seems like enough security to keep anything except cows out, but there isn't anything in the fence that would shelter a cow or anyone else in a storm in the silo area, so these tiny Launch Facilities were safe enough for a restricted area in America for years. The impressive pictures show the gigantic size of some objects, like a Trident submarine (Plates 36, 38, 47), a spare Trident submarine bow section plastic part under a tarp from Hitco (Plate 43), PARCS missile warning radar (Plate 58), and the OTH-B bomber detection radar (Plate 65). The telephone poles are very close to the ground compared to the towers for the "3000-foot transmitting antenna (one of three on the site)" (p. 114).
The Department of Energy was also requested to allow some pictures to be taken, as much of the responsibility for plutonium is within their power. I doubt if anything that is more concerned about energy than people will ever have an official documented record of anything it does quite like this book. Plate 72 shows an Abandoned Safeguard missile site in North Dakota, and efforts to deactivate systems are part of the information provided in this book, except such information as only the DOE possesses.