Book Review- The Missile Next Door

The Missile Next Door: The Minuteman in the American Heartland
By Gretchen Heefner, 2012

the missile next door

I was hoping for a description of military strategy and technology. I got an opinionated piece about disruptions in farmers’ lives and dependency on the military-industrial complex. At least I learned some things about the scale of missile building, the process of deciding upon and acquiring sites for missiles, and the lengthy draw-down in silo force post-Cold War.

I feel the author lost some perspective in writing the book. How many people were really impacted by missile silos? Maybe 10,000, spread across the western half of the country? Those missiles were our main deterrent against nuclear war. And they worked. Perhaps we went a little overboard in terms of number of missiles, but it’s hard to argue with the results. We won the Cold War. While I agree that the military industrial complex wastes lots of money, I think this book was too negative in its appraisal.

While it definitely wasn’t the intention of the author, I am now interested in visiting the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in South Dakota. Perhaps we’ll stop on the way to Montana to visit two of my college friends.

I listened to the audio book version of this book.

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