Renowned journalist and historian Garrett M. Graff presents his newest book RAVEN ROCK: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself—While the Rest of Us Die (Simon & Schuster, May 2017).
Reading, Book signing, and Q&A. Free and open to the public.
About Raven Rock
Raven Rock tracks the evolution of the government’s plan for surviving a catastrophic attack on American soil. Since the beginning of the Cold War, the U.S. government has been secretly planning for what would come after a nuclear attack on America. From hidden bunkers where generals and politicians would be evacuated to secret lists of “ dangerous enemies” who would be arrested in the opening moments of war, RAVEN ROCK provides the eye-opening truth about the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program. From the dawn of the nuclear era through the War on Terror, the COG determines the activities and processes that would allow the government to continue its essential operations following a nuclear attack—and even what totems of American culture should be saved.
Used only once—on September 11th, 2001—this complex Doomsday machine still exists but remains out of sight: it shadows Presidents wherever they travel, tracks the whereabouts of congressional leaders hour by hour, and is ready to be unveiled at America’s darkest hour. Instead of a traditional account focused on the who and the why, this book is a history of how. Specifically, it’s about the nuts and bolts of war plans, communication networks, weapons, and bunkers—and how imagining and planning for the impact of nuclear war reshaped the American presidency and laid the foundation for today’s national security state.
Calling upon, for the first time, thousands of pages of recently declassified plans and White House documents, RAVEN ROCK—which takes its name from the Pentagon’s sprawling secret 650-acre bunker complex in the Pennsylvania mountains—is equal parts a presidential, military, and cultural history. It is a definitive tour of the hidden architecture of America’s shadow government—one that will simultaneously surprise readers with the level of detail that went into planning for Armageddon, yet shock them with how poorly the plans would have actually worked.Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times calls Graff “a cogent writer, willing to tackle large-scale issues and problems.” In RAVEN ROCK, he puts his investigative skills to the test to provide a window into a long-ignored part of American history.
Praise for Raven Rock
“You may think you have some idea of how the United States prepared for nuclear war, but you will be shocked, appalled, amazed, fascinated, darkly amused, and just plain gob-smacked by what Garrett Graff has dug up. Deeply researched and lucidly written, Raven Rock is a haunting, compelling journey into the past—with disturbing meaning for the future.”
—Evan Thomas, author of Ike’s Bluff and Being Nixon
“Garrett Graff has given us a colorful and frightening account of the American government’s plans for doomsday, and the secret bunkers where official could go to save themselves. These early plans still have their counterparts today, and they reveal a lot about how warfighting doctrine evolved. Read it and be fascinated—and a little scared.”
—Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and Einstein
“Equal parts thriller, sober history, and tragic comedy, Garrett Graff’s Raven Rock is an indispensable volume for anyone seeking to understand how the Cold War and the specter of nuclear annihilation shaped the world. Graff is a meticulous researcher and truly gifted storyteller. Readers will find themselves mesmerized by his careful and fast-paced examination of our government’s top-secret plans to survive a nuclear attack while the rest of us are turned to ash.”
—Del Quentin Wilber, author of Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan
“In this spellbinding narrative, Graff reveals the top secret plans the government has for its own survival and asks the reader to consider a nightmarish scenario. Crammed with new revelations—from the locations of secret bunkers hidden in the nation’s small towns and dense woods to the ever-changing presidential evacuation plan—Graff carefully considers what would happen if the unthinkable occurred. I could not put it down.”
—Kate Andersen Brower, author of The Residence and First Women
About the Author
Garrett M. Graff, a magazine journalist and historian, has spent more than a dozen years covering politics, technology, and national security. He’s written for publications from Wired to The New York Times, and served as the editor of two of Washington’s most prestigious magazines, Washingtonian and POLITICO Magazine. His books include The Threat Matrix: The FBI War in the Age of Global Terror and The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House.