Paul Boyer
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Sixty years and counting
Nuclear themes in American culture, 1945 to the present
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U.S. society since 1945 has to be understood in the light of the pervasive nature of the bomb in media, politics and mass culture. In the decades from 1945 to the early twenty-first century, the challenge to think the presence of the bomb went through three distinctive cycles, each of them prompted by a specific cause: the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the first wave up to the mid-1950s, then the heightening of the bloc confrontation in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and finally the problem of nuclear proliferation in the third cycle that started in the late 1970s. the early and substantial presence of the bomb in U.S. popular mass culture which played on the claviature of nuclear anxieties while at the same time rendering nuclear weapons as a playful and ultimately perhaps even harmless technical gizmo with a destructive capacity that evoked fear and fascination in equal measure.

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Understanding the imaginary war

Culture, thought and nuclear conflict, 1945–90


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