Andy Kirk (History) received the 2018 National Council on Public History (NCPH) Book Award for his book, Doom Towns: The People and Landscapes of Atomic Testing, A Graphic History (Oxford University Press, 2017). The book was illustrated by Kristian Purcell. The award recognizes outstanding scholarship that addresses the theory and/or practice of public history or that includes the products of public history work.
"Kirk’s graphic history of the Nevada nuclear test sites draws on oral histories, agency documentation, and environmental history to tell the complex and controversial story of atmospheric atomic testing, primarily at the Nevada Nuclear Test Site situated in the cultural landscape of the Mojave and Great Basin deserts," said committee members selecting the award winners.
"One-part oral history, one-part graphic history, and one-part documentary history, this distinctive publication is remarkably accessible and engaging. Born of a long-term public history project developed through the shared authority of Great Basin residents, Doom Towns interprets the history of atomic testing through a largely hidden community of participants that includes technicians, local ranchers, and nuclear bomb protestors. The graphic history component is strikingly creative and rigorously researched. More than 600 illustrative panels tell a comprehensive story that is a remarkable example of innovative public history," they said.