The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst

Overview

Steven Church grew up in the 1970s and ’80s in Lawrence, Kansas, a town whose predictable daily rhythms give way easily to anxiety—and a place that, since Civil War times, has been a canvas for sporadic scenes of havoc and violence in the popular imagination. Childhood was quiet on the surface, but Steven grew up scared—scared of killer tornadoes, winged monkeys, violent movies, authority figures, the dissolution of his parents’ marriage, and most of all in Reagan’s America, nuclear war. His fantasies of nuclear ...

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The Day After The Day After: My Atomic Angst

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Overview

Steven Church grew up in the 1970s and ’80s in Lawrence, Kansas, a town whose predictable daily rhythms give way easily to anxiety—and a place that, since Civil War times, has been a canvas for sporadic scenes of havoc and violence in the popular imagination. Childhood was quiet on the surface, but Steven grew up scared—scared of killer tornadoes, winged monkeys, violent movies, authority figures, the dissolution of his parents’ marriage, and most of all in Reagan’s America, nuclear war. His fantasies of nuclear meltdown, genetic mutation, and post-apocalyptic survival find a focal point in 1982 when filming begins in Lawrence for The Day After, a film which would go on to become the second-highest Nielsen-rated TV movie. Despite cheesy special effects, melodramatic plotlines, and the presence of Steve Guttenberg, the movie had an instant and lasting impact on Church, and an entire generation. Combining interview, personal essay, film criticism, fact, and flights of imagination, Church’s richly layered and darkly comic memoir explores the meaning of Cold War fears for his generation and their resonance today.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593762612
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/16/2010
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Bk. 1 In the Beginning 1

1 A History of Storms 5

2 Born into the End 10

3 Early Visions 15

4 The Three Mile China Island Syndrome 18

5 Siren Song 20

6 Cornflake Fallout 23

7 Manageable Destruction 26

8 Preface to Dahlberg Variations 31

9 Flea Market Memorials 34

10 The Mutants Shall Inherit 38

11 Extra Help 41

12 Hulk Dreams 47

13 Monkeys in the Trees 50

14 The Day Before 53

Bk. 2 The End 57

1 Dahlberg Variation 61

2 A Legacy of Holes 64

3 Sunday School 71

4 Dahlberg Variation 77

5 Yellow Warning Notes 80

6 The Four Horsemen 85

7 Nuclear Summit 89

8 Dahlberg Variation 93

9 New Mutations 96

10 There Is No Nowhere 100

11 Starlet Night 107

12 Dahlberg Variation 111

13 This Is Lawrence 114

14 Final Gift 117

Bk. 3 Fallout 119

1 Dahlberg Variation: Red Dawn Rising 123

2 The Man Behind the Curtain 126

3 Utopian Dreams 130

4 Dahlberg Variation: Letter to the Author 136

5 Dog Tags 138

6 Dahlberg Variation: Letter to the Author 142

7 Second Summit 144

8 New Dawn 151

9 Beneficial Irrationality 157

10 Moving Picture 161

11 Changing of the Guard 171

12 Dahlberg Variation: Letter to the Author 175

Bk. 4 The Returning End 177

1 They All Come Back 181

2 Dahlberg Variation 184

3 Fly Away Home 186

4 Dahlberg Variation 188

5 Signs 189

6 Dahlberg Variation 195

7 Deflection 197

8 Dahlberg Variation 200

9 Birds 201

Notes, Digressions, and Acknowledgments 205

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