Synopses & Reviews
The Cold War was the war that never happened. Nonetheless, it spurred the most significant buildup of military contingency this country has ever known: from the bunkers of Greenbrier, West Virginia, to the 'proving grounds' of Nevada, where entire cities were built only to be vaporized. The Cold War was waged on a territory that knew no boundaries but left few traces. In this fascinating--and at turns frightening and comical--travelogue to the hidden battlefields of the Cold War, Tom Vanderbilt travels the Interstate (itself a product of the Cold War) to uncover the sites of Cold War architecture and reflect on their lasting heritage. In the process, Vanderbilt shows us what the Cold War landscape looked like, how architecture tried to adapt to the threat of mass destruction, how cities coped with the knowledge that they were nuclear targets, and finally what remains of the Cold War theater today, both its visible and invisible legacies. Ultimately, Vanderbilt gives us a deep look into our cultural soul, the dreams and fears that drove us for the last half of the 20th century.
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 when 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 Cottens 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.
“A crucial and dazzling book, masterful, and for me at least, intoxicating.”—Dave Eggers
“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
First published by Princeton Architectural Press, 2002.
About the Author
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,The Nation, the London Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and others.
Table of Contents
Looking for Dr. Strangelove: The Cold War as Archaeology
Dead City: The Metropolis Targeted
Survival City: This is Only a Test
The Domestication of Doomsday:
New Buildings for the Perilous Atomic Age
The Underground City:
The Architecture of Disappearance
Missile Silos in the Heartland
The Secret Landscape: Some Cold War Traces
September 11, 2001