Between 1961 and 1967 the United States Air Force buried 1,000 Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles in pastures across the Great Plains. The Missile Next Door tells the story of how rural Americans of all political stripes were drafted to fight the Cold War by living with nuclear missiles in their backyards—and what that story tells us about enduring political divides and the persistence of defense spending.
By scattering the missiles in out-of-the-way places, the Defense Department kept the chilling calculus of Cold War nuclear strategy out of view. This subterfuge was necessary, Gretchen Heefner argues, in order for Americans to accept a costly nuclear buildup and the resulting threat of Armageddon. As for the ranchers, farmers, and other civilians in the Plains states who were first seduced by the economics of war and then forced to live in the Soviet crosshairs, their sense of citizenship was forever changed. Some were stirred to dissent. Others consented but found their proud Plains individualism giving way to a growing dependence on the military-industrial complex. Even today, some communities express reluctance to let the Minutemen go, though the Air Force no longer wants them buried in the heartland.
Complicating a red state/blue state reading of American politics, Heefner’s account helps to explain the deep distrust of government found in many western regions, and also an addiction to defense spending which, for many local economies, seems inescapable.
In this long-awaited book, Claudio Lomnitz tells a groundbreaking story about the experiences and ideology of American and Mexican revolutionary collaborators of the Mexican anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón. Drawing on extensive research in Mexico and the United States, Lomnitz explores the rich, complicated, and virtually unknown lives of Flores Magón and his comrades devoted to the "Mexican Cause." This anthropological history of anarchy, cooperation, and betrayal seeks to capture the experience of dedicated militants who themselves struggled to understand their role and place at the margins of the Mexican revolution. For them, the revolution was untranslatable, a pure but deaf subversion: La revolución es la revolución -- "The Revolution is the Revolution." For Lomnitz, the experiences of Flores Magón and his comrades reveal the meaning of this phrase.
The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón tracks the lives of John Kenneth Turner, Ethel Duffy, Elizabeth Trowbridge, Ricardo Flores Magón, Lázaro Gutiérrez de Lara, and others, to illuminate the reciprocal relationship between personal and collective ideology and action. It is an epic and tragic tale, never before told, about camaraderie and disillusionment in the first transnational grassroots political movement to span the U.S.-Mexican border. The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón will change not only how we think about the Mexican Revolution but also how we understand revolutionary action and passion.