A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert

A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert

A poignant, surreal, and fearlessly honest look at growing up on one of the most secretive weapons installations on earth, by a young woman who came of age with missiles

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.

Title:A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert
ISBN:9780399564543
Free Sign Up:Yes
Free PDF Download:Yes
Read Online Free:Yes

    A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert Reviews

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This book is about the author's childhood in the Mojave Desert while her parents worked designing missiles at China Lake. It's also about civilian vs military life, fundamentalism, and how much of chi...

  • Rebecca

    I received a free copy of this e-book from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 StarsI wanted this book as soon as I saw the title. If I ever wrote a book about my passi...

  • Aria

    ---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. --- So, firstly I just want to say that I don't understand why people think this is a book about missiles. It says right there in the ti...

  • Penmouse

    Very few books make me angry but A Girl's Guide to Missles by author Karen Piper angered me enough that I quit reading her book. I returned her book to Amazon due to Piper's poor research and due to t...

  • Emmkay

    Readable, slightly meandery memoir. The author grew up on the China Lake Station in California during the Cold War, where both her parents worked in weapons development. The parts of the book about th...

  • Matt Hiebert

    No, this is not a textbook about military ordinance. For me, A Girl's Guide to Missiles is a story about “emergence.” It is the memoir of a woman coming of age in the 80s, rising out of a barren c...

  • Liz

    Perhaps 4 stars worth of enjoyment, but only 3 based on comprehensive, coherent delving into specific topics. I always enjoy memoir non-fiction, as a personal perspective provides "story" in addition ...

  • The Folding

    At its core, Karen Piper’s memoir “A Girl’s Guide to Missiles: Growing up in America’s Secret Desert” is about war. However, it’s not just about military warfare and the weapons used to wa...

  • Jodi

    This was an advanced readers copy, that I recieved through the Goodreads Giveaways. I might not have bought this book, if I hadn't won it, but I would have missed out on a sometimes funny, sometimes s...

  • BookGypsy

    A coming of age like you've never read before. Imagine growing up living on the China Lake Missle Range. I was riveted by this story. Truely a remarkable read.Dawnny-Book GypsyNovels N LatteBook Blog...