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Kansas played an outsized role in the Cold War, when civilization's survival hung in the balance. Forbes Air Force Base operated nine Atlas E intercontinental ballistic missile launch sites. Schilling Air Force Base was the hub for twelve Atlas F ICBMs. McConnell Air Force Base operated eighteen Titan II ICBMs. A Kansas State University engineering professor converted a discarded Union Pacific Railroad water tank into his family's backyard fallout shelter. A United States president from Kansas faced several nuclear war scares as the Cold War moved into the thermonuclear age. Landry Brewer tells the fascinating story of highest-level national strategy and how everyday Kansans lived with threats to their way of life.
"As a baby boomer who turned ten years of age three months after John F. Kennedy took the oath to become president of the United States, my political consciousness begins with Dwight D. Eisenhower, the election of 1960 and Kennedy's inauguration, which coincided with my state's centennial celebration, and the Cold War. The latter, as Landry Brewer so carefully reminds us, included the ill-fated and advised Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the nuclear arms race, Atlas, Titan, and Nike missile sites in Kansas and elsewhere, and the very real possibility of nuclear annihilation. For this native Kansan, these are vivid but impressionistic memories. Cold War Kansas skillfully adds factual meat to the bones of my youthful impressions as it tells the real story of the dangers we Kansans faced during the first four decades of my personal Kansas experience. It contextualizes my Cold War memories as it details the construction, activation, decommissioning, and subsequent use of Kansas missile sites; discusses the Sunflower State's program of civil defense, including public and private fallout shelters and evacuation plans; and highlights the apocalyptic film The Day After and our Cold War legacy. Brewer's fine book has much to offer all readers but especially Kansans, who should want to know about and better understand their state's central location, in the nation geographically and in the Cold War." Virgil W. Dean, historian, retired editor of Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains and author of John Brown to Bob Dole: Movers and Shakers in Kansas History.
"Cold War Kansas takes us back to the days when The Day After was not just another movie!" John Daley, Professor of Military & Diplomatic History, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas
"Far from being a remote event, the Cold War transformed the lives of Kansans and their institutions from Abilene to Wichita. Landry Brewer has written a briskly-paced and accessible account of how Kansans lived through this pivotal period at home and at work, on college campuses and military installations, not to mention city halls and courthouses. Landry even discusses the role of Lawrence in the filming of ABC's apocalyptic made-for-TV movie The Day After in 1983. This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the experiences of Kansans during the Cold War." J.L. Anderson, author of Capitalist Pigs: Pigs, Pork, and Power in America