The Missile Next Door: The Minuteman in the American Heartland

The Missile Next Door: The Minuteman in the American Heartland

by Gretchen Heefner
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The Missile Next Door: The Minuteman in the American Heartland

Between 1961 and 1967 the United States Air Force buried 1,000 Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles in pastures across the Great Plains. The Missile Next Door tells the story of how rural Americans of all political stripes were drafted to fight the Cold War by living with nuclear missiles in their backyards—and what that story tells us about enduring political divides and the persistence of defense spending.

By scattering the missiles in out-of-the-way places, the Defense Department kept the chilling calculus of Cold War nuclear strategy out of view. This subterfuge was necessary, Gretchen Heefner argues, in order for Americans to accept a costly nuclear buildup and the resulting threat of Armageddon. As for the ranchers, farmers, and other civilians in the Plains states who were first seduced by the economics of war and then forced to live in the Soviet crosshairs, their sense of citizenship was forever changed. Some were stirred to dissent. Others consented but found their proud Plains individualism giving way to a growing dependence on the military-industrial complex. Even today, some communities express reluctance to let the Minutemen go, though the Air Force no longer wants them buried in the heartland.

Complicating a red state/blue state reading of American politics, Heefner’s account helps to explain the deep distrust of government found in many western regions, and also an addiction to defense spending which, for many local economies, seems inescapable.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674059115
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/10/2012
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Strange New Landscape 1

1 Ace in the Hole 15

2 Selling Deterrence 30

3 The Mapmakers 49

4 Cold War on the Range 77

5 Nuclear Heartland 111

6 The Radical Plains 137

7 Dismantling the Cold War 168

Conclusion: Missiles and Memory 200

Abbreviations 209

Notes 211

Acknowledgments 283

Index 287

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The Missile Next Door: The Minuteman in the American Heartland 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very negative book.  We need to protect our country.  She seems to be against this.  Fine!  I sure don't want to fight some country in my front yard.  We worked at the missile organization and believe in defending our country.  Using missiles is/was one way to do this. Very negative book.  We thought the book was going to be about the history of the Minuteman missile.