A Girl's Guide to Missiles

Growing Up in America's Secret Desert
Author(s): Karen Piper
Original Publish Date: Aug 14, 2018
eAudio - unabridged
Audio (10.47 hours)
Product Number: Z100132239
Released: Aug 14, 2018
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9781524755898
Narrator/s: Rebecca Lowman
Publisher: Books on Tape
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A surreal and poignant coming of age on a secretive missile facility, and "an incredible view of...life in a town built for war."--Booklist The China Lake missile range is located in a huge stretch of the Mojave Desert, about the size of the state of Delaware. It was created during the Second World War, and has always been shrouded in secrecy. But people who make missiles and other weapons are regular working people, with domestic routines and everyday dilemmas, and four of them were Karen Piper's parents, her sister, and--when she needed summer jobs--herself. Her dad designed the Sidewinder, which was ultimately used catastrophically in Vietnam. When her mom got tired of being a stay-at-home mom, she went to work on the Tomahawk. Once, when a missile nose needed to be taken offsite for final testing, her mother loaded it into the trunk of the family car, and set off down a Los Angeles freeway. Traffic was heavy, and so she stopped off at the mall, leaving the missile in the parking lot. Piper sketches in the belief systems--from Amway's get-rich schemes to propaganda in The Rocketeer to evangelism, along with fears of a Lemurian takeover and Charles Manson--that governed their lives. Her memoir is also a search for the truth of the past and what really brought her parents to China Lake with two young daughters, a story that reaches back to her father's World War II flights with contraband across Europe. Finally, it recounts the crossroads moment in a young woman's life when she finally found a way out of a culture of secrets and fear, and out of the desert.

All formats/editions

Author(s): Karen Piper
Product Number EB00715935
Released: Aug 14, 2018
Business Term: 2 Year
Publisher: Penguin Books
ISBN: #9780735220386

Professional reviews

"Karen Piper's fascinating memoir is brought skillfully to life by Rebecca Lowman's intimate narration. Piper recounts her Cold War-era childhood and adolescence at the naval research facility at China Lake, California, where both of her parents worked on missile development. She weaves military, political, and cultural history with important moments in her own life--Reagan's election and her sixteenth birthday, for example. Lowman maintains an easy, natural tone, drawing the listener along as the subject matter veers from missile science to Piper's slow discovery of the world outside China Lake. The author reflects on her unusual childhood with a refreshing lack of judgment, and Lowman's narration captures both her dry humor and her generous but frank assessment of herself and her family. E.C. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine"

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