Literary Oddities: You Can Survive the Bomb
























Pulled this out of a long-forgotten box of books earlier.  No, it’s not a self-help book written by Ben Affleck, it’s a classic 1961 slab of grim cold-war profiteering by one Col. Mel Mawrence.

The front cover blurb reads, in its entirety, “This book is a myth-shattering guide to bomb survival which offers new hope for millions of Americans. It firmly contradicts the ‘certain death’ psychology of well-meaning but mistaken spreaders of despair and…”

Despair and what? For god’s sake man, don’t leave us hanging! Luckily, the blurb continues on the back cover:

“…futility…written in clear, simple terms, this book explains in depth how you and your family can survive the bomb in the event of an attack. For instance: *Is there really no protection against blast? *Will life after a nuclear attack really be worthless? *Will there be “no warning”? [bold in the original] This book details the specific steps necessary to save your life. It offers positive measures for preservation against the neutron bomb and the 100 megaton bomb. It tells you how to plot your chances for survival at home and at the office.”

Hmm. Myth-shattering guide to bomb-survival. Nice thing about writing a book about how to survive a nuclear attack, there won’t be anyone around to tell you you were wrong.

“Well-meaning but mistaken spreaders of despair and futility.” Wow, so apparently, back in 1961, there were people who felt that nuclear war was a bad thing. Probably those “spreaders of despair and futility” were the parents of the current crop of Defeatocrats who feel that a war that has killed more Iraqis than Saddam Hussein and more Americans than 9/11 could be considered not a success.

I also like that it tells you how to plot your chances for survival at home and at the office. It’s a flexible, anywhere kind of survival plan! Why not in the car, I wonder, or at the supermarket?

But that’s not all! The blurb continues onto page 1! Clearly this is a book with a lot to say.

“This important book tells you how to improvise an effective shelter and describes costs and types of manufactured shelters. In short, how to live — even if you have made NO preparations. The authors, recognized for their experience in the field, have gathered their facts from personal observation and literally tons of material — much not previously made available to the public. This book, then, is for the courageous, the indecisive, the uninformed, and, yes, even the despairing. It is for those who are willing to prepare themselves for life!”

“The courageous, the indecisive, the uninformed — ” sounds like the GOP motto. I wonder what that is in Latin? And I wonder why those literal tons of material were never made public.
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11 Responses to “Literary Oddities: You Can Survive the Bomb”
  1. audax, indecisoria, ineruditus
    I think.

  2. pjamesharvey says:

    recognized for their experience in the field

    I wonder how many nuclear blasts they personally survived in order for them to make that claim.

    • Todd says:

      I’m sure the number is exactly the same as the number of men who have written authoritative accounts of how wonderful the Iraq war is and have also been in combat themselves.

  3. Anonymous says:

    GOP motto

    Animosi, dubi, ignari


  4. teamwak says:

    I came across this today. It seems kind of appropriate to your post lol

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  5. mcbrennan says:

    I own an item very similar to this–an LP record entitled “If The Bomb Falls”, in which the unbelievably scary narrator describes in chilling detail the horrors that will happen to you after you (barely) survive a nuclear attack, unless you immediately dig a bomb shelter in your backyard. It came with not one, not two, but three thick pamphlets from the federal government explaining how to build a shelter, stock it with food and fight off your CHUD neighbors. I think both my record and your book were the result of an initiative by John F. Kennedy in Life magazine, encouraging Americans to prepare for the coming atomic holocaust. Perhaps not his most upbeat moment. I transferred it to CD and it’s somewhere in all my stuff, but the WFMU link above has audio files that are suitably scratchy and spooooky.