My Home in the Ground
November 22, 2006 12:00 AM   Subscribe

1962 Fallout Shelter handbook. (more about nuclear survival and shelters, if that kind of thing worries you).
posted by IronLizard (18 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
While the book is cool, I kinda just wish Ward would shut the fuck up and let me read it without the snarky, sarcastic commentary.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:36 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Oh, and thanks IL.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:37 AM on November 22, 2006

Hey, nice find by this Ward fellow, and thanks for bringing it here IronLizard.

Back around 1978 or so, in my old Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, I came across a big pile of stuff on the sidewalk. It was the contents of some fallout shelter that someone had cleared out. There were boxed and canned foods of various sorts, containers marked with that universal "fallout" symbol or whatever. Anyway, I took home a big can of crackers, some kind of saltines. Put one in my mouth (hey, I was curious: this stuff was supposed to last for years right?) and good lord, it was DISGUSTING! Really rank, like cardboard but worse... you'd rather eat cardboard. So that was what awaited the well-prepared American citizen who'd prepared himself and his family for the post-nuclear future. The living would've envied the dead, for sure!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:38 AM on November 22, 2006 [1 favorite]

Seriously, why can't I have science fiction marketed to me in a practical, perhaps necessity-invoking way?

So that was what awaited the well-prepared American citizen who'd prepared himself and his family for the post-nuclear future.

"You'll need to have at least 60 boxes of these crackers... but don't taste them, then you wouldn't have them anymore when the commies nuke us. Even one cracker could keep your family alive for days."

Perfect. Business. Model.
(of the fly-by-century variety at least)
posted by pokermonk at 2:23 AM on November 22, 2006

^^ (make that fly-by-decade)
posted by pokermonk at 2:25 AM on November 22, 2006

I am just now starting to watch 24 season 2 on DVD for the first time, so this is strangely appropriate...
posted by Rhomboid at 4:30 AM on November 22, 2006

that brings back memories of arranging things in the basement for impending nuclear war ... in 1962, this became serious stuff and a lot of people had makeshift shelters in their basements ... somehow, i don't think sandbags on the ping pong table would have helped all that much, dad, but i was too young to have lifted them ...
posted by pyramid termite at 4:56 AM on November 22, 2006

What kind of guidebook is this? Where's the section on defending your home against hordes of mutants out to steal your essence? What gauge shotgun is best against a depraved mutie of average size? Buckshot or slugs?
posted by substrate at 5:51 AM on November 22, 2006

Originally, the foodstuffs were to be replaced or replenished periodically. I don't think anyone planned on them still being edible 40 years on.
posted by dhartung at 6:15 AM on November 22, 2006

I don't think so either, dhartung, but if you're referring to my coment above (and I guess maybe you are?), keep in mind my story was from 1978 (ancient history!) so I wasn't talking 40 years, but more like maybe 15 to 18 years or so...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:22 AM on November 22, 2006

Brings back memories of the 'Protect and Survive' and 'Building a Nuclear Shelter' manuals from the UK. These were from the mid-80s.
posted by azlondon at 6:29 AM on November 22, 2006

I snagged a can of water from an old fallout shelter back in the mid 70's. The can now sounds like it has a solid lump of something sloshing around in the "Emergency Water"

Protect and Survive... Jethro Tull

They said protect and you'll survive ---
(but our postman didn't call)
8lbs. of over-pressure wave seemed to glue him to the wall
They said protect and you'll survive

E.M.P. took out the radio ---
(and our milk-man didn't call)
Flash blinded by the pretty lights,
didn't see his bottles fall
or feel the warm black rain arrive

Big friendly cloud builds in the West
(and our dust-men haven't called)
They left the dual carriageway at a hundred miles an hour ---
a tail wind chasing them away

And in deep shelters lurk below, sub-regional control
who sympathise but cannot help
to mend your body or your soul
Self-appointed guadians of the race with egg upon their face
When steady sirens sing all-clear they pop up,
find nobody here

And so I watch two new suns spin ---
(our paper man doesn't call)
Burnt shadow printed on the road --- now there's nothing there at all
They said protect and you'll survive
posted by Gungho at 7:32 AM on November 22, 2006

OMG, I remember that book. It might still be in a box somewhere. No, we never built one, but i did grow up expecting to be snuffed out by a giant fireball at any moment without warning. Ah, those were the good old days.
posted by lordrunningclam at 7:34 AM on November 22, 2006

That's why today's (okay, last month's) political climate in the US is so frustrating to me: At one point, the greater part of the US was literally at risk of being destroyed by nuclear strike, to the point that people were making their own bomb shelters -- and still we didn't sacrifice our liberties to try to make us safe. But you topple a few buildings in NYC and suddenly Joe Contemporary Public is advocating wiretaps, torture, and suspension of habeas corpus so teh terrists don't bomb Greenville, South Carolina.

Kids these days..., buncha pussies. Git offa my lawn!
posted by LordSludge at 9:52 AM on November 22, 2006

substrate : What gauge shotgun is best against a depraved mutie of average size? Buckshot or slugs?

12 gauge, with 00 buckshot. Save the slugs for the giant reptiles that the mutants come riding in on. They may not look it, but they are carnivorous. And fast.
posted by quin at 9:59 AM on November 22, 2006

My old house still had a bomb shelter in the back yard. It was just a an 8 by 10 room buried under about 3 fee of dirt. There was a very small opening on top with steel rungs embedded in the concrete so you could climb down. You could still see imprints from where a bunk bed had sat against one wall, but it was otherwise completely empty by the time we moved in to the house.

Two things never made sense to me: 1) there was an electric line, water and sewer connects in the shelter. Seems kinda pointless after the apocalypse, but that lead to 2) the cover for the entrance was made out of plywood. Blast-rated plywood, I'm sure.

All in all, it was the most depressing room I'm ever spent much time in. All the charm of a prison cell, but with less light. I still shudder to think of anyone sitting in there for weeks or months waiting for the radiation to kill them.
posted by Eddie Mars at 11:48 AM on November 22, 2006

LordSludge, weren't the McCarthy witch-hunts directly tied to the Cold War's threat of nuclear attack? The freedom of political association was, it seems, willingly surrendered by the public until people finally started pointing out that McCarthy was never going to stop and had "no decency".
posted by jiawen at 12:23 PM on November 22, 2006

Well I wasn't worried about it a minute ago...sheesh
posted by Smedleyman at 4:31 PM on November 22, 2006

« Older Just in time for youtubesday   |   A Russian-American desaparecido and a Nazi cult. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments