When you think about bunkers, you might be apt to think of the 1950s and people building basement and backyard fallout shelters during the Cold War. But there’s a second “Doom Boom” going on right now, and people aren’t just burrowing into the earth to protect themselves from a nuclear bomb.

My guest today traveled across four continents to explore what’s driving this phenomenon and how it’s manifesting itself in the modern age. His name is Bradley Garrett and he’s a professor of cultural geography and the author of Bunker: Building for the End Times. We begin our conversation with the immersive dive Bradley took into urban exploration for his PhD, and how it led to his fascination with the building of underground bunkers. From there we dip into the history of bunkers, from the ancient subterranean cities built in Turkey to the governmental decisions made during the Cold War that led Americans to build blast shelters in their backyards. From there we dig into why a multi-billion dollar private bunker-building industry has emerged in the present day, and how it’s not being driven by a specific threat, but instead a diffuse sense of dread. We discuss how bunker building breaks down into individual and communal approaches, and why the latter is currently ascendant. Bradley takes us on a tour of two underground communities: one a complex of over 500 subterranean cement rooms in South Dakota, and the other a former nuclear missile silo in Kansas which has been turned into a luxe, 15-story inverted skyscraper of survival condos, complete with swimming pool, dog park, movie theater, and grocery store. We then turn to the modern movement of backyard bunker building, and how it often represents an act of resistance against the surveillance state. We also look at the culture of prepping in different countries, including the building of bug-out vehicles and fire bunkers in Australia. We end our conversation with whether or not Bradley ultimately concluded that bunker building and survival prepping is a rational response to the state of the world, and whether he became a prepper himself.

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Show Highlights

How Brad’s life as an urban explorer led to his research into bunkersHow long have humans been building bunkers?How did America’s Cold War decisions affect the future of bunker building and prepping?What’s driving this second “Doom Boom” we’re seeing?The difference between fear and dreadTwo primary approaches to building bunkersThe Vivos complex in South Dakota Turning missile silos into luxe bunkersPrepper cultures in other countries The unique Mormon approach to disaster prepping What are these preppers going to do after the apocalypse?Is prepping for the apocalypse a rational response to our world?Has Bradley become a prepper?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Explore EverythingRaven Rock by Garrett GraffUK’s Burlington BunkerGreenbrier BunkerHow to Make a Bug-Out BagA Survival Expert’s Guide to Bugging InHow to Bug-InThe Doom BoomHow to Get Off the GridHow to Survive a Grid-Down Disaster“Home, Sweet, Home?”Vivos bunkers“A Boom Time for the Bunker Business”Inside Survival CondoAtlas Survival SheltersBug Out VehiclesHydration for the ApocalypseEzra Taft Benson

bunker by bradley garrett book cover

Connect With Bradley

Bradley’s website

Bradley on Instagram

Bradley on Twitter

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