Survival City

Survival City : Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America

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On the road to Survival City, Tom Vanderbilt maps the visible and invisible legacies of the cold war, exhuming the blueprints for the apocalypse we once envisioned and chronicling a time in which we all lived at ground zero. In this road trip among ruined missile silos, atomic storage bunkers, and secret test sites, a lost battleground emerges amid the architecture of the 1950s, accompanied by Walter Cotten's stunning photographs. "Survival City" looks deep into the national soul, unearthing the dreams and fears that drove us during the latter half of the twentieth century.

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  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 15.24mm | 362.87g
  • The University of Chicago Press
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, ILUnited States
  • English
  • 80 halftones, 7 line drawings
  • 0226846946
  • 9780226846941
  • 441,296

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"A genuinely engaging book, perhaps because Vanderbilt is skillful at conveying his own sense of engagement to the reader." - Los Angeles Times "A retracing of Dr. Strangelove as ordinary life." - Greil Marcus, Bookforum "A fascinating political and cultural analysis of 'cold war architecture': a vast array of structures from missile silos to small towns built to test the effectiveness of an atomic blast, presidential fallout shelters, nuclear waste dumps, monoliths like the windowless PacBell building in Los Angeles, and countless motels and diners named 'Atomic.'" - Publishers Weekly "Exploring buried traces of the cold war in America... Vanderbilt finds a vast, secret, and now largely abandoned landscape." - Architecture "Survival City, by taking us on a tour of important places we've probably never seen, is both a call to preserve cold war history and a valuable reminder of the continual impact of nuclear weapons on the American cultural and physical landscape." - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists "This is a crucial and dazzling book. Masterful, and for me at least, intoxicating. It reminds us of the absurd and sinister ways humans have attempted to ensure their survival, and, without ever oversimplifying, it manages to be a ridiculously entertaining read." - Dave Eggers.

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About Tom Vanderbilt

Tom Vanderbilt is the New York Times best-selling author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us). His work on design, technology, science, and culture has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Nation, London Review of Books, Wall Street Journal, and others.

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