Lookout America!: The Secret Hollywood Studio at the Heart of the Cold War

Lookout America!: The Secret Hollywood Studio at the Heart of the Cold War

by Kevin Hamilton, Ned O'Gorman

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781512603279
Publisher: Dartmouth College Press
Publication date: 12/04/2018
Series: Interfaces: Studies in Visual Culture Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 412,556
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author


NED O’GORMAN is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of The Iconoclastic Imagination: Image, Catastrophe, and Economy in America from the Kennedy Assassination to September 11. KEVIN HAMILTON is a professor of art and design at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Table of Contents


Preface • Introduction • Hollywood’s Nuclear Weapons Laboratory • Colonels, Cameras, and Security Clearances • Strategies of Containment: Lookout Mountain’s Oceanic Operations • Sense and Sensibilities: Lookout Mountain’s Operation Ivy • Routine Reports: The Nevada Films • The Vectors of America: Missile Films • Engineering Geographies: Arctic and Space Films • The Vietnamization of the Cold War Camera • Mushroom Cloud Cameras • Closure • Epilogue and Acknowledgments • Notes • Sources • Index

What People are Saying About This

Joseph Masco

“How was that distinctive U.S. Cold War visual aesthetic created, recruiting Americans to identify with the perverse technoaesthetics of atomic bombs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and space missions? Kevin Hamilton and Ned O’Gorman recover the all-but-lost history of the central image-making institution of the Cold War nuclear state and theorize its distinctive photographic program. Lookout America! is a pathbreaking book, a must read for anyone interested in the politics—or visual culture—of the Cold War.”

Bill Geerhart

“Lookout America! is the fascinating story of the Cold War’s very own MGM – a top secret military film studio that operated out of a complex in the Hollywood Hills and documented everything from atomic tests to Vietnam bombing missions. This essential and image-packed book (Marilyn Monroe has a cameo!) is the result of a decade of obsessive detective work by the co-authors. Against long odds, they have rescued a lost chapter of history that the government was too indifferent to properly preserve.”

Jennifer Fay

“In this detailed and meticulously documented study, Kevin Hamilton and Ned O’Gorman explore the inner workings of one of the most important, prolific, and practically invisible centers of American Cold War film production. They show us the process through which the U.S. national security state came to picture its operations and also what these pictures, in turn, tell us about a transition over the decades from cinematic story-telling to cybernetic information streams. An impressive book about the Cold War image world, Lookout America also reflects on the challenges of researching a secret studio whose archive is as dispersed as nuclear fallout. A fascinating and hugely significant book!”

Jayne Loader

“The secret, cinematic history of the Cold War is revealed in Lookout America, where the military-industrial complex meets the culture industry and the Atomic Age was styled. Meticulously researched, persuasively written, and beautifully designed, Lookout America is a blast from the past.”

Tim Barney

"Lookout America! is all of the following: a rollicking story populated by an unlikely mix of Hollywood artists, nuclear scientists, and military movers and shakers; a feat of innovative design in its lovingly crafted layout and image curation; the reclamation of a forgotten Cold War archive; and a profound critical reflection on the nature of vision and visuality in an increasingly surveillant state. Hamilton and O’Gorman beautifully use the extraordinary history of the Lookout Mountain Laboratory to critique not just what we saw but more importantly how we saw in the Cold War, and the immense effects that has on our political culture today."

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