Survival City

Adventures Among the Ruins of Atomic America

Tom Vanderbilt

     6.125 × 9.25 in (15.6 × 23.5 cm)
224 pages
80 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 4/1/2002
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568983059

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.

Tom Vanderbilt is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in Wired, Nest, The New York Times Magazine, and The Nation. He is author of The Sneaker Book: An Anatomy of an Industry and An Icon.

Reader Comments

An Excellent Book (rating 5 out of 5):
I just finished reading Tom Vanderbilt's excellent and thought provoking book. A travelogue in to the decaying architecture of doom which is riveting from beginning to end. I'd really recommend the chapters on the Nike Missile Batteries (find one near you!) and the WIPP site. The writing is accessible and often very funny.
- Devlin from Seattle, WA (12/22/2004)

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