AUTHORMatthews, Melvin E., Jr.
TITLEDuck and Cover: Civil Defense Images in Film and Television from the Cold War to 9/11
PUBLISHERMcFarland & Company, Inc.
CITYJefferson, NC and London

This work focuses on the presentation of civil defense themes in U.S. film and television from the onset of the Cold War to the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. In considering the strategies and impact of civil defense efforts on the public mindset, it explores a broad range of genres including education, drama, comedy, and propaganda. The author shows how government propaganda and civil defense presented nuclear war as "no more of a threat than any other hazard" (p.8), thereby persuading the public to support the Cold War. The chapters also consider television and cinema during the 1950s; the question of "shelter morality," or what obligation a bomb shelter owner had to protect his shelterless neighbors, during John F. Kennedy's presidency; nuclear nostalgia and the nuclear freeze movement in the 1970s and 80s; with the final chapter focusing on the 1990s. The book also looks at visual media and public reactions to that media during Cold War confrontations in Berlin and Cuba, the escalating arms race, and the nuclear freeze movement.

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