How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People Into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack

By Susan Roy; Suzanne Slesin (Editor)
(Pointed Leaf Press, Hardcover, 9780982358573, 176pp.)

Publication Date: April 2011

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Conceived by a misguided government seeking to quiet the fears of an anxious public, the concept of the Family Fallout Shelter was Cold War paranoia at its finest, a massive bit of propaganda by architecture that has no more truth behind it than the absurd notion of duck and cover. Inundated with government-sponsored films, posters, booklets, traveling caravans and exhibitions, the American family bought into the idea, investing millions of dollars in home shelters of every conceivable material and design. Bomboozled: How the U.S. Government Misled Itself and Its People Into Believing They Could Survive a Nuclear Attack lays bare the buried truths of America's family fallout shelter obsession. Author Susan Roy charts the panic-fueled evolution of the shelter from a well-stocked basement pantry to a full-fledged (and often completely decorated) home addition, revealing through extensive archival photography, nuclear-era memorabilia, and previously unpublished media, a government and people in the grip of self-delusion. Fastidiously researched and sharply written, Bomboozled captures the absurdity and uncertainty of a culture that knew no better than to trust its government's message. Susan Roy is a writer and editor on architecture, design, and cultural history. The founding managing editor of Allure magazine, she has also held senior editorial positions at This Old House, SELF, Good Housekeeping and Avenue. She holds a master's degree in architectural history from Columbia University; Bomboozled is loosely based on the subject of her master's thesis, The Family Fallout Shelter During the Cold War.

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