The Bomb in the Wilderness

The Bomb in the Wilderness

Photography and the Nuclear Era in Canada

Brenda and David McLean Canadian Studies

by John O'Brian

Published by: UBC Press

230 pages, 191.00 x 254.00 mm, 119 photos, 20 in colour

  • ISBN: 9780774863889
  • Published: October 2020


Photographs link the nuclear past and nuclear present, shaping the public’s perception of events. What can they reveal about Canada’s nuclear footprint?

The Bomb in the Wilderness contends that photography is central to how we have represented, interpreted, and remembered nuclear activities since 1945. During the Second World War, Canada was a member of the Manhattan Project, the consortium that developed the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The impact and global reach of Canada’s nuclear programs has been felt ever since. But do photographs alert viewers to nuclear threat, numb them to its dangers, or by some strange calculus accomplish both?

John O’Brian’s wide-ranging and personal account of the nuclear era presents and discusses more than a hundred photographs, ranging from military images to the atomic ephemera of consumer culture. We need this fascinating analysis, to ensure that we do not look away.