RAVEN ROCK Rises

NPR’s Fresh Air sends Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die by Garrett M. Graff (S&S; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) skyrocketing up the Amazon charts, moving to #25 from #1,933.

Graff’s book explores newly declassified government plans for continuity in case of disaster, written at the start of the atomic era and elaborated upon during the Cold War. Host Terry Gross calls it “a mix of the terrifying, the absurd, and the bureaucratic.”

Graff tells Gross about one of the shelter bunkers for chosen government officials:

“Raven Rock is this massive, hollowed-out mountain. It’s a free-standing city … [with] three-story buildings. It has everything that a small city would — there’s a fire department there, there’s a police department, medical facilities, dining halls. The dining facility serves four meals a day, it’s a 24 hour facility … today [it] could hold as many as 5,000 people in the event of an emergency.”

As for his subtitle, Graff says that at the start of the planning process the government thought most of the population would survive an attack but now the plan is that “The civilian population will be left to itself for weeks or months at a time, and a small number of senior government officials will be spirited out to these bunkers with the hope that within months or a few years they’re able to reconstitute something that resembles the United States again.”

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