He remembers, growing up in the 1950s, having nightmares of nuclear holocaust. He saw barren landscapes, like the area in the American Southwest, where the first bombs were tested. These recurring dreams were filled with a deep sense of foreboding, waiting for something terrible to happen. They were fed by drills in school ("duck and cover" -- as though their flimsy school desks would afford them some protection from an atom bomb!).
When he was a teenager, his family built a home bomb-shelter in the middle of what had been a horse corral. There was a certain logic to it, of course, but they eventually ran into some insoluble technical snags — condensation caused by warm outside air hitting the 55 degree walls inside, and the question of how to filter out nuclear fall-out when their hand-powered air pump brought in that air — and a moral problem: how would they say “no” to neighbors who might wish to join them in their cramped refuge?