BookBrowse Reviews Fortress America by Elaine Tyler May

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Fortress America

How We Embraced Fear and Abandoned Democracy

by Elaine Tyler May

Fortress America by Elaine Tyler May X
Fortress America by Elaine Tyler May
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  • Published:
    Dec 2017, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kate Braithwaite

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Fortress America argues that instead of a thriving democracy of engaged citizens, we have become a paranoid, bunkered, militarized, and divided vigilante nation.

In Fortress America, Elaine Tyler May presents a fascinating but alarming portrait of America's recent history and the effect of events upon its citizens. Beginning with the threats posed by the Cold War, she examines the different fears that have gripped the nation in subsequent decades—fears that are often not substantiated by the facts.

May creates a compelling argument about the impact of the nuclear threat on people's concept of safety. When the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb in 1949, American policy was a "strategy of deterrence": stockpiling weapons so that no nation would dare attack. But because the "good guys," the Americans, had already dropped nuclear bombs, "there was every reason to believe that the bad guys would do the same." Fear of nuclear war and war with the Soviets inspired the period of anti-communist hysteria now known as McCarthyism...

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