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New book looks at Oklahoma during the Cold War

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Southwestern Oklahoma State University history instructor Landry Brewer has written a book about Oklahoma's role in the Cold War.

The book, "Cold War Oklahoma," includes a "fascinating cross-section of the era, from top-level strategy to the details of daily life," a news release notes.

Brewer's book was published by The History Press and launched on April 29.

Among the interesting tidbits?

Altus Air Force Base was "a hub for 12 intercontinental ballistic missile launch sites," and "in 1964, a missile housed at the Frederick site exploded," the release states. A former faculty member for the University of Oklahoma fled the country after being accused of espionage, and a SWOSU professor dug a fall-out shelter in Weatherford by hand.

There's more, including a major scare in Elk City during the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was possibly the closest the world came to all-out nuclear war.

Bob Burke, four-time winner of the Oklahoma Book Award and a three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, wrote the foreword to the book. He praises Brewer for painting "a comprehensive story of how the Cold War affected the daily lives of Oklahomans, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, when Soviet aggression rose in intensity and little was done to stop the proliferation of nuclear weapons and missile systems. ... Sirens, normally used to warn Oklahomans of approaching severe weather, were tested during mock drills. Families and towns stocked their bomb shelters with food and water."

Burke also wrote that he was unaware of any other book that explores Cold War-era Oklahoma.

Brewer has upcoming book signings scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon May 10 at Paul Jones Drug in Elk City; May 18 at the Tommy Franks Museum in Hobart; May 21 at the Old Greer County Museum in Mangum; and May 25 at the Stafford Air & Space Museum in Weatherford. He will discuss the book at 5 p.m. June 6 at the Carnegie Library in Elk City.

Buy the book at select local bookstores or online at Amazon.com.

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