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One Nation Underground: A History of the Fallout Shelter (American History and Culture) [Paperback]

Kenneth D. Rose

Price: £16.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

31 May 2004 American History and Culture
For the half-century duration of the Cold War, the fallout shelter was a curiously American preoccupation. Triggered in 1961 by a hawkish speech by John F. Kennedy, the fallout shelter controversy--"to dig or not to dig," as Business Week put it at the time--forced many Americans to grapple with deeply disturbing dilemmas that went to the very heart of their self-image about what it meant to be an American, an upstanding citizen, and a moral human being. Given the much-touted nuclear threat throughout the 1960s and the fact that 4 out of 5 Americans expressed a preference for nuclear war over living under communism, what's perhaps most striking is how few American actually built backyard shelters. Tracing the ways in which the fallout shelter became an icon of popular culture, Kenneth D. Rose also investigates the troubling issues the shelters raised: Would a post-war world even be worth living in? Would shelter construction send the Soviets a message of national resolve, or rather encourage political and military leaders to think in terms of a "winnable" war? Investigating the role of schools, television, government bureaucracies, civil defense, and literature, and rich in fascinating detail--including a detailed tour of the vast fallout shelter in Greenbriar, Virginia, built to harbor the entire United States Congress in the event of nuclear armageddon--One Nation, Underground goes to the very heart of America's Cold War experience.

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One Nation Underground: A History of the Fallout Shelter (American History and Culture) + Fallout Shelter: Designing for Civil Defense in the Cold War (Architecture, Landscape, and American Culture)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: New York University Press; New Ed edition (31 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814775233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814775233
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.9 x 1.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,482,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Kenneth Rose's One Nation Underground explores U.S. nuclear history from the bottom up--literally... Rose deserves credit for not trivializing this period of our history, as so many retrospectives of the Cold War era have tended to do." --Journal of Cold War Studies "Important ... One Nation Underground is an elegant account of the issues involved in the nuclear age." --Pacific Northwest Quarterly "This is a fine compilation of a massive amount of research, well founded in the existing literature, and presented in a readable narrative." --Journal of Illinois History "A readable short history of the fallout shelters and the broader political debate over civil defense... Mr. Rose is a good storyteller, and One Nation Underground is engagingly writen, with an array of evocative photgraphs." --The Wall Street Journal "Rose writes well, with a good eye for the telling phrase and revealing example."--Journal of Social History

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Only once in our history has the question of nuclear war and survival been embraced by an entire nation as a subject of urgent debate. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Analysis 7 May 2002
By Jeff Winke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One Nation Underground is a fascinating analysis of the Cold War fallout shelter, the global and political milieu in which it emerged, and the pervasiveness in which the concept of protection from nuclear destruction permeated the American psyche.

I came to this book out of a recent, amusing interest in the many remaining Fallout Shelter signs still posted on public buildings in my community. Where I live, Fallout Shelter signs still appear on a derelict retail board-up in the central city, a tidy ten-unit men's rooming house, an unused police station, and numerous school buildings including my old grammar school where I learned how to "duck and cover" in the basement lunchroom.

Rose's book not only documents the American preoccupation and political developments, prompted by President Kennedy's 1961 speech, but the moral dilemmas as well. There was, after all, a sense of doom at the prospects of thermonuclear obliteration.

The book is a serious, engrossing history that pulls from numerous sources and includes copious illustrations. It captures the fear, soul-searching, and debate during the first time in human history we faced the possibility of total destruction. This excellent book is a must read for anyone interested in American history, as well as the intellectually curious.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Analysis 7 May 2002
By Jeff Winke - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One Nation Underground is a fascinating analysis of the Cold War fallout shelter, the global and political milieu in which it emerged, and the pervasiveness in which the concept of protection from nuclear destruction permeated the American psyche.
I came to this book out of a recent, amusing interest in the many remaining Fallout Shelter signs still posted on public buildings in my community. Where I live, Fallout Shelter signs still appear on a derelict retail board-up in the central city, a tidy ten-unit men's rooming house, an unused police station, and numerous school buildings including my old grammar school where I learned how to "duck and cover" in the basement lunchroom.
Rose's book not only documents the American preoccupation and political developments, prompted by President Kennedy's 1961 speech, but the moral dilemmas as well. There was, after all,, a sense of doom at the prospects of thermonuclear obliteration.
The book is a serious, engrossing history that pulls from numerous sources and includes copious illustrations. It captures the fear, soul-searching, and debate during the first time in human history we faced the possibility of total destruction. This excellent book is a must read for anyone interested in American history, as well as the intellectually curious.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Digging This Book 17 April 2006
By missed - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're a student of Cold War culture, many of the source materials used throughout One Nation Underground will be familiar to you. That's not to imply that One Nation is boring, regurgitated, or any such adjective. Rather, Rose has crafted and extremely interesting look at how fallout shelters, for a brief period of time, was on the tip of everyones tongue, and yet despite the warnings and fears, America as a whole pretty much refused to dig in. Rose not only looks at the politics behind fallout shelters, but the historical, scientific, and cultural aspects, providing many sides both for and against civil defense, and explaining why those against won the argument and America's psyche. Rose's prose is never boring and always enlightening. A must read for any CW culture afficionado.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book on this subject that I have found in a long time. 8 Oct 2008
By Steven Melching - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book is a must have for everyone's library that has an interest in shelters both public and private.

Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a good book about fallout shelters in the Cold War 30 Jan 2010
By David W. Griffin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I very much enjoyed seeing the various cold war architecture and hearing about how fallout shelters were perceived at the time. I quite enjoyed the author's treatment of the controversies connected with building the shelters and the issues the shelter builder had to overcome in order to build a shelter. I also enjoyed the treatment of why the idea of fallout shelters fell out of fashion.
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