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Cover image for Raven Rock : the story of the U.S. government's secret plan to save itself -- while the rest of us die
Format:
Title:
Raven Rock : the story of the U.S. government's secret plan to save itself -- while the rest of us die
Other title(s):
Story of the United States government's secret plan to save itself while the rest of us die
ISBN:
9781476735405

9781476735429
Edition:
First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
Publication:
New York ; London ; Toronto : Simon & Schuster, [2017]
Physical Description:
xxv, 529 pages, 32 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color), map ; 25 cm
Contents:
Project S-1 -- Mr. Rance -- Campbell -- The Beard Lot project -- Apple Jack alert -- The spirit of Camp David -- The New Frontier -- Cuban Missile Crisis -- Angel is airborne -- The Tyler precedent -- The madman theory -- Mount Pony -- The unlikely hawk -- War games -- Designated survivor -- Nine naught eight -- 9/11 -- The days after -- Doomsday prepping.
Summary:
"The eye-opening true story of the government's secret plans to survive and rebuild after a catastrophic attack on U.S. soil--a narrative that spans from the dawn of the nuclear age to today. For sixty years, the U.S. government has been developing secret Doomsday plans to protect itself in the event of a terrorist or nuclear attack, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms--from its plans to evacuate high-ranking officials to bunkers surrounding Washington, DC, to the prospect of launching nuclear missiles from a Boeing 747 flying high over Nebraska. In [this book], Garrett Graff utilizes thousands of pages of once-classified documents, as well as original interviews and visits to former and current COG facilities, to track the evolution of the government's plans and the threats of global war from the Truman administration through the present day. Equal parts a presidential, military, and political history, Raven Rock takes readers through the back channels of government to understand exactly what is at stake if our nation is attacked, and how we're prepared to respond if it is."--Jacket.
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363.35 Graff
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363.35 GRAFF 2017
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363.3509 Graff 2017
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363.35 GRAFF
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363.35 Graff 2017
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Summary

Summary

The eye-opening true story of the government's secret plans to survive and rebuild after a catastrophic attack on US soil--a narrative that spans from the dawn of the nuclear age to today.

Every day in Washington, DC, the blue-and-gold 1st Helicopter Squadron, code-named "MUSSEL," flies over the Potomac River. As obvious as the presidential motorcade, the squadron is assumed by most people to be a travel perk for VIPs. They're only half right: while the helicopters do provide transport, the unit exists to evacuate high-ranking officials in the event of a terrorist or nuclear attack on the capital. In the event of an attack, select officials would be whisked by helicopters to a ring of secret bunkers around Washington, even as ordinary citizens are left to fend for themselves.

For sixty years, the US government has been developing secret Doomsday plans to protect itself, and the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program takes numerous forms--from its plans to evacuate the Liberty Bell from Philadelphia and our most precious documents from the National Archives to the plans to launch nuclear missiles from a Boeing 747 jet flying high over Nebraska.

In Raven Rock , Garrett Graff sheds light on the inner workings of the 650-acre compound (called Raven Rock) just miles from Camp David, as well as dozens of other bunkers the government built its top leaders during the Cold War, from the White House lawn to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado to Palm Beach, Florida, and the secret plans that would have kicked in after a Cold War nuclear attack to round up foreigners and dissidents, and nationalize industries.

Equal parts a presidential, military, and political history, Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government's plans and the threats of global war from the dawn of the nuclear era through the present day. Relying upon thousands of pages of once-classified documents, as well as original interviews and visits to former and current COG facilities, Graff brings readers through the back channels of government to understand exactly what is at stake if our nation is attacked, and how we're prepared to respond if it is.


Reviews 3

Kirkus Review

When the missiles start raining down, don't look for your senator. As this spry but sobering book reveals, government officials will already be tucked away underground, ready to legislate in the ashes.Dwight Eisenhower had it right: in the event of nuclear war, the president counseled, "you might as well go out and shoot everyone you see and then shoot yourself." Alas, that requires a resolve that our Congress may not possess. In any event, from the moment World War II ended, the government has busily made all kinds of contingency plans to ensure its continuity. One locus, as Graff (The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Terror, 2011, etc.) writes, is the Raven Rock of his title, an underground city that will serve as an alternate Pentagon in the case the original is destroyed. Other centers dot the mountainous country of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, close to the major centers of commerce and government but tucked deep into granite and limestone. The desired continuity, as Graff notes, may be "of an idea larger than any single officeholder," but of course officeholders have long lobbied for a place in the fortress just in case. By looking into just one dark corner of it, the author does a good job of showing the growth of the security state at large, none of which will make sensitive persons sleep any easier, especially with the nuclear clock now ticking so close to midnight. One particularly unsettling discovery is that the more money and power an agency has, the vaguer its purposes, as when the Office of Censorship changed its name to the Wartime Information Security Program and became nebulous in the bargain. Another iswell, just be glad that Richard Nixon never gave the order to launch. Fans of Kiefer Sutherland, to say nothing of the X-Files and Terry Southern, will already know some of what Graff reveals here. For the rest, it's a frightening eye-opener. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


New York Review of Books Review

OVER DRINKS WITH the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin one evening, George Stephanopoulos - then serving as a policy adviser in the Clinton administration - pulled a card out of his wallet with details about how he would be evacuated from Washington in the event of a nuclear emergency. Sorkin later incorporated the card into an episode of his television show "The West Wing." But Dee Dee Myers, Clinton's first press secretary, who went on to work as a consultant on the show, warned Sorkin that the plot was unrealistic since no such cards existed. They did, of course - but that had been a tightly guarded secret, and Myers had simply never received one. Not everyone could be evacuated, after all, and wonks evidently took precedence over flacks. That is just one of the many comically macabre anecdotes that Garrett M. Graff shares in "Raven Rock," a thorough investigation of Washington's longstanding efforts to maintain order in the face of catastrophe. In exploring the incredible lengths (and depths) that successive administrations have gone to in planning for the aftermath of a nuclear assault, Graff deftly weaves a tale of secrecy and paranoia. The goal of "continuity of government" - an official euphemism for keeping the American state alive even if almost every American citizen ends up dead - has raised enormous ethical, bureaucratic and engineering challenges for generations of planners. Who would be saved? (Many federal officials, but generally not their families - a decision that has frequently been met with dismay.) From what branches of government? (Planning has often prioritized the executive branch over Congress and the courts.) And where would they go? (Underground, mostly.) Graff explains how, in 1951, the federal government began building a series of secret subterranean lairs in rural Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The first of these, known as Raven Rock, is buried under more than a quarter mile of Pennsylvania granite, covers more than 100,000 square feet and can accommodate around 1,400 people in multiple structures "carefully positioned on coiled springs to ease swaying during a nearby attack." Other sites included a facility hidden inside a mountain at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, which housed a power plant, a medical clinic, a dentist's office and a 400seat cafeteria. Graff, a magazine journalist, delights in describing these hideaways (whose existence was first revealed in the 1990s) and the plans for using them; as a result, his narrative sometimes gets bogged down in elaborate, acronym-laden bureaucratese. But he is ultimately after something more consequential: "Raven Rock" is at heart a history of the Cold War and an exploration of its lasting effects on American politics. Graff's portrait of that era is more Dr. Strangelove than James Bond. He shows how, again and again, technocratic efforts to prepare for governing after a nuclear attack have collided with the reality that doing so would almost certainly prove impossible, owing to the speed and severity of the carnage - a fact that makes even the most thoughtful plans seem vaguely ridiculous. (Not to mention those that involved spiriting the Liberty Bell to safety.) After years of grappling with these problems, President Dwight Eisenhower reached a grim conclusion, ff a nuclear conflict with the Soviet Union ever broke out, he lamented to a group of advisers, "You might as well go out and shoot everyone you see and then shoot yourself." Graff suggests that the fears of the Cold War planted the seeds of "today's obsessive secrecy culture" and helped shape the alarmism that he rightly notes "has guided so much of our response to the modern threat of terrorism." He doesn't quite flesh out that argument. Still, the book's valuable takeaway is that if Washington ever has to reach for its Doomsday plans, it will probably be too late. The best defense against worst-case scenarios is competent, rational leadership that avoids them altogether. In the Trump era, however, that might be harder to find than a secret underground bunker. ? JUSTIN VOGT is a deputy managing editor of Foreign Affairs.


Library Journal Review

End-of-the-world scenarios make for frightening movie plotlines. What makes for interesting cinema is all too real for the U.S. government. A chilling portrait of how the government planned to continue to function during and after a nuclear holocaust is brilliantly told in this new valuable addition to Cold War literature that goes beyond policy and delves into logistical plans. Journalist Graff (The Threat Matrix: The FBI at War in the Age of Global Terror) diligently mines classified and unclassified material to create this highly informative work. The most intriguing aspect of this book is how the plans actually unfolded during the real crisis of 9/11. Valuable lessons learned continue to have ramifications. The only minor drawback is that readers can get swamped with the amount of acronyms. Readers who enjoyed Len Scott's The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Threat of Nuclear War and Neil Sheehan's A Fiery Peace in the Cold War will be fascinated. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers interested in the Cold War and secret government operations. [See Prepub Alert, 11/14/16.]-Jacob Sherman, John Peace Lib., Univ. of Texas at San Antonio © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Chapter 1 Project S-1p. 1
Chapter 2 Mr. Rancep. 10
Chapter 3 Campbellp. 25
Chapter 4 The Beard Lot Projectp. 43
Chapter 5 Apple Jack Alertp. 60
Chapter 6 The Spirit of Camp Davidp. 78
Chapter 7 The New Frontierp. 99
Chapter 8 Cuban Missile Crisisp. 133
Chapter 9 Angel is Airbornep. 163
Chapter 10 The Tyler Precedentp. 179
Chapter 11 The Madman Theoryp. 202
Chapter 12 Mount Ponyp. 228
Chapter 13 The Unlikely Hawkp. 239
Chapter 14 War Gamesp. 254
Chapter 15 Designated Survivorp. 275
Chapter 16 Nine Naught Eightp. 297
Chapter 17 9/11p. 328
Chapter 18 The Days Afterp. 366
Chapter 19 Doomsday Preppingp. 387
Acknowledgmentsp. 411
Notesp. 415
Bibliographyp. 497
Indexp. 507