Review by Choice Review
Jacobs (Hiroshima Peace Institute, Hiroshima City, Japan) subjects atomic narratives in postwar US culture to cogent analysis in this succinct, well-researched, readable book. These stories convey just how ominous the future seemed during the Cold War when (until 1963) atmospheric testing exposed virtually all living things on the planet to radioactive fallout. Nuclear weapons, everyone agreed, threatened civilization's very survival. World peace was no longer a pipe dream, but the only practical alternative to an apocalyptic denouement--the extinction of the human race as dramatized in Nevil Shute's bestselling novel On the Beach (1957) and on a bubble gum trading card set, "Atomic Doom." A ludicrous (in retrospect) civil defense film, Duck and Cover, made use of cartoon character Bert the Turtle and a jingle, written by the same team that came up with "See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet," to warn kids to be on alert for a sudden bright flash that could "burn you worse than a terrible sunburn." Especially interesting is the discussion of disaster movies such as The Incredible Shrinking Man. Monsters range from mutant ants (Them) and octopi (It Came from Beneath the Sea) to dinosaurs (The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and, most famously, Godzilla). Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries. J. B. Lane formerly, Indiana University Northwest
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
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