Bomb shelter book a smash

May 5, 2014

Canadian War Museum historian and author Andrew Burtch has won the C.P. Stacey Award for his 2012 book Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada’s Cold War Civil Defence.

The prize, presented by the Canadian Committee for the History of the Second World War and the Canadian Commission for Military History, recognizes the year’s most distinguished publication on the twentieth-century military experience.

The book casts a harsh light on Canada’s plans to protect the public in the event of a nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union between 1945 and 1963.

Burtch wrote an article based on his book for Canada’s History magazine. It appeared in the December 2012-January 2013 issue of Canada’s History.

Burtch, the museum’s historian for the post-1945 period, drew on previously unreleased documents detailing the nuclear survival strategy developed by Civil Defence Canada and the Emergency Measures Organization. The plan, which met with widespread skepticism and mockery, relied on citizens to prepare for the looming threat of nuclear annihilation by volunteering as air-raid wardens and by building their own fallout shelters. The civil defence program struggled with chronic underfunding and bureaucratic mismanagement before being abandoned in the mid-1960s.

You can buy the book online at Chapters-Indigo.

You can read the article here:

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