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possibility of instant annihilation.11 Herein lies one of the great paradoxes of postwar American history. In his introduction to the collection of seminal essays analyzing the postwar period, Recasting America: Culture and Politics in the Age of Cold War (1989), historian Lary May asked, “Did the transformation of intellectual and popular thought, along with the full flowering of a consumption economy, generate passivity in the face of a highly organized social order, or did it release new forms of creativity and liberation?” 12 Increasingly, historians have refuted the