About the Author(s)
Andrew G. Kirk is Professor of Environmental and Western History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is a coauthor of American Horizons (OUP, 2010), author of Counterculture Green (2007) and Collecting Nature (2001), and a Principal Investigator on the Nevada Test Site Oral History Project.
Kristian Purcell is an artist and illustrator based in Bedford, United Kingdom.
"Earth's vast deserts and ocean expanses are littered with the eerie, mysterious, and fearsome remains of the planetary nuclear weapons complex. Doom Towns offers a multi-layered, open-ended history that helps make sense of these places and the people who inhabited and worked in them." -- Mark Fiege , Wallace Stegner Chair in Western American Studies, Montana State University, Edge Effects
"This book is a beautiful object and a profound tool. Kirk's graphic history of the Nevada Nuclear Test Site offers a singular vision that could only grow from his immersive decade-long collaboration with one place, its people, and contexts. Paying careful attention to oral histories, nature, and visual culture, Kirk exposes once obscured Cold War spaces to the stark clarity of desert light. Purcell's illustrations help to develop the powerful sense of empathy that is at the core of this book. Doom Towns provides a crucial new way to understand the legacy of the Cold War and the Atomic West--and of doing history through stories that come alive in your hands."--Jeffrey C. Sanders, Washington State University
"Drawn from previously untapped archival material and personal experiences, Kirk's graphic history of atmospheric atomic testing builds on existing scholarship and enriches and enlivens the story of this fascinating period. His work humanizes the impact of science on all parties involved in our early nuclear defense policy and reminds us that what we see is not always what we get."--Congresswoman Dina Titus, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
"Despite geopolitical differences, the United States and other Cold War states all tested nuclear weapons in places indigenous people once called home. Kirk's deftly written and wonderfully illustrated Doom Towns draws on a rich array of interviews and images to reveal the lived history of atomic test sites. The result is a compelling graphic history of a time when worker safety, property rights, and the environment were sacrificed on the radioactive altar of national security."--Patrick McCray, University of California, Santa Barbara
"Doom Towns is extraordinary in every way: as a work of scholarship, as a pedagogical tool, and as an art object. From a thoughtful introduction to carefully curated documents, from haunting and beautiful illustrations to economical prose and a neat narrative arc, this book makes good on the promise of graphic history. It is a triumph that will grab readers--ranging from students to experts in the field--and force them to think about the unthinkable."--Ari Kelman, Penn State