An informative, chilling, and bizarrely entertaining inside look at the thousands of “prepper” communities around the world that are building bunkers against the coming apocalypse.
A National Geographic survey reveals that 62% of Americans think the world will experience a major catastrophe in twenty years, and 40% of Americans believe stocking up on supplies and building a bomb shelter is a wiser investment than retirement accounts. While many of us have imagined the possibility that our time on Earth as humans might end, there are those around the world who are preparing for what they see as the inevitable calamity. With a backdrop that consists of everything from electromagnetic pulses created by solar flares, to an inadvertently triggered nuclear war, to an abiding sense most people have that they’re under constant surveillance, cultural geographer Bradley Garrett traces how the “prepping” movement has spread, and the many forms it’s now taking.
Currently, 3.7 million Americans are preppers. Garrett argues this is a rational response to global, social, and political systems that are failing to produce credible narratives about the stability of the present or the hopefulness of our collective future. Left with a sense of foreboding arising from accelerating climate change, increasing government dysfunctionality, looming threats to critical infrastructure, and the ramping up of invasive monitoring, people all over the world are doing what they’ve always done in times of crisis: hunkering down.
Garrett travels across four continents to meet those who are preparing go-bags, constructing panic rooms, building underground backyard survival chambers, hiding inflatable rafts, rigging mobile “bugout” vehicles, and burrowing deep into the Earth. A captivating mix of intriguing people and places, Bunker is a fascinating, inside look at a growing global phenomenon.
Bradley Garrett is a cultural geographer and expert on cities, infrastructure, and social issues. His work, which often has him entering lost, forgotten, or off-limits places, has been featured on the History Channel, the UK’s BBC and Channel 4, and in The Atlantic and GQ. He also writes a column about public space for Guardian Cities. In addition to Bunker, he is the author of the critically acclaimed Explore Everything: Place-Hacking the City as well as three other books on urban exploration, Subterranean London, London Rising, and Global Undergrounds.