Bunker: Building For The End Times – by Bradley Garrett (2020)

It took me a ridiculous amount of time to read this book. “Bunker” is a very detailed, dense account of the bunkers that the author visited, and the interviews he did with the people who set up each one. There were a variety of motivations for why people built them, and a wide range of styles and price tags.

Mr. Garrett gave a good history of how people have been building places of refuge for thousands of years. It seems to be in the nature of humans to have somewhere to flee in times of trouble. The trouble might be a conquering army from another country, robbers, rapists, extreme weather, a pandemic, or the end of the world.

Mr. Garrett’s quest to see actual bunkers took him to Kansas, Texas, Australia, Thailand, Germany, Utah, and Indiana. Some of the structures were quite basic, others were high-tech and only affordable to millionaires. Some of the builders had strong religious beliefs that propelled them to building bunkers, others were simply real estate investors looking to make a lot of money from frightened people.

Continue reading “Bunker: Building For The End Times – by Bradley Garrett (2020)”

Countdown – by Deborah Wiles (2010)

Countdown

This book, with its “historic fiction” sticker, caught my eye as I walked through my local library. The setting was one not often tackled – what the Cuban missile crisis was like for a kid in 1962. Frannie is 11 years, living with her family just outside the Andrews Air Force Base. Her father is a military pilot, her mother a  housewife, her brother Drew a science nerd, and her older sister Jo-Ellen a person of secrets. Uncle Otts, a traumatized World War II vet, also lives with them.

Life is normal until they start having air raid drills at school, and they see ads for family bomb shelters. Frannie is confused by some people telling her everything will be okay, and others believing that they could be blown to smithereens at any moment.

Mixed in with Frannie’s story are photos from 1962, quotes from President Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev,and civil service announcements. The addition of all these pictures make the story more real. It gives the reader a window to see what people were actually seeing in 1962. It was indeed a terrifying thirteen days.

Excerpt from page 201:

(Frannie speaking)
Was it just today that Margie and I had that terrible fight, that I threw up in Mr. Mitchell’s office, that Uncle Otts came home from the hospital, that Gale invited me to her party? All on the same day I found out that I might not live long enough to wake up in the morning? I’d better wrap up everything while I have a chance.

Excerpt from page 254:

“I know all about atoms,” says Drew. He turns his face to me. He’s crying. “Atoms are supposed to be our friends,” he hiccups. “I’m supposed to go to the moon! We’re supposed to use atoms for peace – it says so right here in this book! An atom is like a genie in a bottle, and we can use that genie to go into space and make new discoveries. But we’re making bombs to kill people! People who are made of atoms! It’s all in this book – protons, neutrons, electrons, Madame Curie, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, reactors and rockets and spaceships and stars and planets and the moon!”

Drew is overwrought.

“I’m never gonna get to the moon, because we’re all about to get blown up!”

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