Catalogue


Civil defense begins at home [electronic resource] : militarization meets everyday life in the fifties /
Laura McEnaney.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2000.
description
x, 213 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0691001383 (print)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, 2000.
isbn
0691001383 (print)
restrictions
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
7871456
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"This book argues compellingly that the debate over civil defense in the 1950s contributed significantly to the militarization of American culture. McEnaney's real contribution is to broaden our understanding of military and domestic policy in the 1950s. Her work on gender is extremely important here, and her final chapter on race and class adds an important dimension to our sense of Cold War military policy."-- Allan M. Winkler, Miami University
Flap Copy
"This book argues compellingly that the debate over civil defense in the 1950s contributed significantly to the militarization of American culture. McEnaney's real contribution is to broaden our understanding of military and domestic policy in the 1950s. Her work on gender is extremely important here, and her final chapter on race and class adds an important dimension to our sense of Cold War military policy."--Allan M. Winkler, Miami University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-01-01:
Using manuscript collections and an abundance of other sources, McEnaney (Whittler College) describes and analyzes the efforts of the US government to convince its citizens to accept the need for civil defense preparedness in the 1940s and 1950s. The Federal Civil Defense Administration developed a strategy focused on the family unit and devoted a tremendous amount of effort to publicizing the need for preparedness in the event of a nuclear attack. An outcome of this effort was the growth of individual bomb shelters--a moderate craze of the 1950s. But while millions of Americans were involved in civil defense preparedness, millions more paid little or no attention to the ominous admonitions of the government. A number of studies have described the Cold War culture; McEnaney demonstrates how hard the government worked to inculcate its ideas to the citizenry. This book will be especially interesting for those who grew up the 1950s and experienced the various propaganda that was disseminated. All levels. A. Yarnell; Montana State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
[A] superb social history of American civil defense programs in the 1950s. . . . I highly recommend [the book] to anyone interested in this important phase of postwar American political development.
"[A] superb social history of American civil defense programs in the 1950s. . . . I highly recommend [the book] to anyone interested in this important phase of postwar American political development."-- Andrew D. Grossman, Journal of Cold War Studies
[A] chilling study of the militarization of the American home under the civil defense policies of the Cold War. -- Tom Vanderbilt, Bookforum
An important book that examines both the historical roots of Cold War political development in the United States and the effects of domestic Cold War mobilization on American society. I highly recommend Civil Defense Begins at Home to anyone interested in this important phase of postwar American political development. This book will be an excellent addition to advanced undergraduate courses as well as graduate courses in history, political science, and American studies.
"An important book that examines both the historical roots of Cold War political development in the United States and the effects of domestic Cold War mobilization on American society. I highly recommend Civil Defense Begins at Home to anyone interested in this important phase of postwar American political development. This book will be an excellent addition to advanced undergraduate courses as well as graduate courses in history, political science, and American studies."-- Andrew D. Grossman, Journal of Cold War Studies
An important book that examines both the historical roots of Cold War political development in the United States and the effects of domestic Cold War mobilization on American society. I highly recommend Civil Defense Begins at Home to anyone interested in this important phase of postwar American political development. This book will be an excellent addition to advanced undergraduate courses as well as graduate courses in history, political science, and American studies. -- Andrew D. Grossman, Journal of Cold War Studies
[A] superb social history of American civil defense programs in the 1950s. . . . I highly recommend [the book] to anyone interested in this important phase of postwar American political development. -- Andrew D. Grossman, Journal of Cold War Studies
A thought-provoking and richly empirical study of the evolution of civil defense and its implications for American citizens and their government during the first full decade of the nuclear age . . . McEnaney's book is an absolute must-read for those interested in nuclear history, the social history of the 1950s, as well as gender and race analyses.
"A thought-provoking and richly empirical study of the evolution of civil defense and its implications for American citizens and their government during the first full decade of the nuclear age . . . McEnaney's book is an absolute must-read for those interested in nuclear history, the social history of the 1950s, as well as gender and race analyses."-- Paul G. Pierpaoli, Military History
A thought-provoking and richly empirical study of the evolution of civil defense and its implications for American citizens and their government during the first full decade of the nuclear age . . . McEnaney's book is an absolute must-read for those interested in nuclear history, the social history of the 1950s, as well as gender and race analyses. -- Paul G. Pierpaoli, Military History
McEnaney's well-researched and well-written monograph adds to our understanding of the Cold War, the 1950s, and the relationship between military and domestic policy. Her analysis of gender, race and class adds significant dimensions to the current literature.
"McEnaney's well-researched and well-written monograph adds to our understanding of the Cold War, the 1950s, and the relationship between military and domestic policy. Her analysis of gender, race and class adds significant dimensions to the current literature."-- D'Ann Campbell, The Journal of American History
The book focuses on the political culture in which [Civil Defense] activists sought to devise a program, pry support from a stingy Congress, and evangelize the public. . . . [It is] admirably well researched often imaginative, and always interesting. -- Richard M. Fried, American Historical Review
[A] chilling study of the militarization of the American home under the civil defense policies of the Cold War.
This book argues compellingly that the debate over civil defense in the 1950s contributed significantly to the militarization of American culture. McEnaney's real contribution is to broaden our understanding of military and domestic policy in the 1950s. Her work on gender is extremely important here, and her final chapter on race and class adds an important dimension to our sense of Cold War military policy.
"The book focuses on the political culture in which [Civil Defense] activists sought to devise a program, pry support from a stingy Congress, and evangelize the public. . . . [It is] admirably well researched often imaginative, and always interesting."-- Richard M. Fried, American Historical Review
The book focuses on the political culture in which [Civil Defense] activists sought to devise a program, pry support from a stingy Congress, and evangelize the public. . . . [It is] admirably well researched often imaginative, and always interesting.
An important book that examines both the historical roots of Cold War political development in the United States and the effects of domestic Cold War mobilization on American society. I highly recommendCivil Defense Begins at Hometo anyone interested in this important phase of postwar American political development. This book will be an excellent addition to advanced undergraduate courses as well as graduate courses in history, political science, and American studies. -- Andrew D. Grossman, Journal of Cold War Studies
"[A] chilling study of the militarization of the American home under the civil defense policies of the Cold War."-- Tom Vanderbilt, Bookforum
McEnaney's well-researched and well-written monograph adds to our understanding of the Cold War, the 1950s, and the relationship between military and domestic policy. Her analysis of gender, race and class adds significant dimensions to the current literature. -- D'Ann Campbell, The Journal of American History
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Dad built a bomb shelter in the backyard, Mom stocked the survival kit in the basement, and the kids practiced ducking under their desks at school. This was family life in the new era of the A-bomb. This was civil defense. In this provocative work of social and political history, Laura McEnaney takes us into the secretive world of defense planners and the homes of ordinary citizens to explore how postwar civil defense turned the front lawn into the front line. The reliance on atomic weaponry as a centerpiece of U.S. foreign policy cast a mushroom cloud over everyday life. American citizens now had to imagine a new kind of war, one in which they were both combatants and targets. It was the Federal Civil Defense Administration's job to encourage citizens to adapt to their nuclear present and future. As McEnaney demonstrates, the creation of a civil defense program produced new dilemmas about the degree to which civilian society should be militarized to defend itself against internal and external threats. Conflicts arose about the relative responsibilities of state and citizen to fund and implement a home-front security program. The defense establishment's resolution was to popularize and privatize military preparedness. The doctrine of "self-help" defense demanded that citizens become autonomous rather than rely on the federal government for protection. Families would reconstitute themselves as paramilitary units that could quash subversion from within and absorb attack from without. Because it solicited an unprecedented degree of popular involvement, the FCDA offers a unique opportunity to explore how average citizens, community leaders, and elected officials both participated in and resisted the creation of the national security state. Drawing on a wide variety of archival sources, McEnaney uncovers the broad range of responses to this militarization of daily life and reveals how government planners and ordinary people negotiated their way at the dawn of the atomic age. Her work sheds new light on the important postwar debate about what total military preparedness would actually mean for American society.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments ix Introductionp. 3
The Dilemmas of Planning and Propagandap. 11
Living Underground: The Public Politics of Private Sheltersp. 40
The Nuclear Family: Militarizing Domesticity, Domesticating Warp. 68
Raising Women's Bomb Consciousnessp. 88
""Equal in Suffering"": Race, Class, and the Bombp. 123
Conclusionp. 152
Notesp. 157
Bibliographyp. 195
Indexp. 209
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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