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. A poignant, surreal, and fearlessly honest look at growing up on one of the most secretive weapons installations on ea...

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Title:A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert
Author:Karen Piper
Rating:
Genres:Nonfiction
ISBN:0399564543
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:336 pages pages

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

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)
    Aug 28, 2018
    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 childhood can be held on to. I enjoyed some funny descriptions of Eugene and Oregon weath...
  • Liz
    Apr 03, 2018
    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 to information. I liked the behind-the-scenes look at weapons development from the lat...
  • Valerie
    Jan 04, 2019
    I checked this out of the library on a whim, and read it immediately. Karen Piper's story of growing up at China Lake, and being an unwitting part of the military industrial complex is beautifully told, and frightening. ...
  • Ron
    Oct 26, 2018
    Karen Piper won awards for writing on water and climate issues, but in A Girl's Guide to Missiles, she delves into her past to try and make sense of her present. She had hit a point in her life where a trip down memory lane would help her make sense of why she is where she is, why she ...
  • Andrea Olson
    Sep 05, 2018
    If you want to learn anything about China Lake, this is NOT the book for you. Just some hippy chick talking about her life, which has minor overlap with China Lake, but she talks more about Eugene Oregon college life than the base. ...
  • Sieglinde
    Dec 29, 2018
    Have you ever read a biography or a memoir and decided you did not like the subject? Well in this case I think the author is a dork. First for the good stuff. I love the way she describes the desert. She obviously loves it. I worked at China Lake for 12 years and lived in Ridgecrest fo...
  • Sarah
    Jul 23, 2018
    My feelings about this book seem to echo most of the reviews that have already been written for Goodreads. This is a fine coming of age memoir about a woman who happened to grow up in China Lake, but it is not a book about China Lake. What she shared about "America's Secret Desert" was...
  • Emmkay
    Aug 25, 2018
    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 this strange milieu and about her parents were especially interesting, as was the part a...
  • Alicia
    Oct 20, 2018
    Bummer of a memoir. Dysfunctional family relationships, dysfunctional work relationships, constant foreshadowing of worse to come. Read first third, skimmed the rest (because book club). ...
  • Matt Hiebert
    Apr 25, 2018
    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 culture of inflexible religion within the desert setting of China Lake, one of Amer...
  • Jenny Karraker
    Sep 09, 2018
    Having grown up in the same time frame that this author writes about, I identified with many of her observations about the nuclear arms race. It was funny to see the competition between her and her sister about their summer jobs and who had the most secret clearance. It was interesting...
  • Christen
    Feb 21, 2018
    I enjoyed this memoir. I thought it was an interesting juxtaposition of war and religion in the author's life. I related to her religious upbringing and enjoyed the history of weapons her family made and then living with the effects of making technology and then having no control over ...
  • Amy
    Jan 26, 2019
    A surreal and 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 located in the Mojave Desert was created during the Second World War, and has always been shrouded in secrec...
  • Barb
    Dec 26, 2018
    Piper grew up in China Lake, CA, in the Mojave Desert where her parents worked on missiles. She describes growing up in the shroud of secrecy, trying to accept life?s dangers in the presence of missiles, the awareness of existing and impending wars, the mishmash of politics that infl...
  • Andee
    Oct 23, 2018
    I liked much of this book, and a few parts not so much. I liked learning about the culture of China Lake and the surrounding areas, as well as the jobs people had with various factions of the military there. I very much enjoyed reading about the environment in the desert - the animals,...
  • Kathleen Gray
    Aug 09, 2018
    This is very much a coming of age memoir with some details about China Lake, not a memoir about China Lake. Karen Piper has an interesting background, with parents who worked in the missile business (for want of a better description) and who had a strong religious bent. Her experiences...
  • Rosemary
    Oct 26, 2018
    Solid memoir. Covers some fascinating topics, including missiles. What I found most interesting was how a "Reagan Girl" grew up and changed her spots. Worked well for me as an audio book and the writing was quite beautiful. ...
  • Pamela
    Dec 27, 2018
    Hmmm . . . I'm not sure what to say. Dynamic times to grow up in, I'm sure. Certainly enough material for an interesting memoir. Plus, Karen Piper has a funny bone - a bit droll, but funny all the same. The book is also culturally expository: cold war fears and fads, Manson and oth...
  • Penmouse
    Aug 21, 2018
    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 the book's poor editing. I have a deep understanding of China Lake history and how ...
  • Rebecca
    Mar 19, 2018
    I received a free copy of this e-book from the publisher (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 Stars I wanted this book as soon as I saw the title. If I ever wrote a book about my passion for Cape Canaveral, I would have used that title. By the end of the book, I...
  • Jean
    Dec 23, 2018
    I am very familiar with China Lake. I found this book interesting about growing up on the China Lake Naval Base. Piper?s parents both were scientist working on the base. Piper tells of her life as a child growing up on the base and as an adult working on the base. I was disappointed ...
  • Jackie Mcgrath
    Jan 06, 2019
    It's so good. Read it if you have parents, or a sister, or an interest in the history of military/technology. Read it for a well-told story about a family and a country. Read it because there is far more to it than missiles. Or girls. ...
  • Kira FlowerChild
    Nov 24, 2018
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, as indicated by my four-star rating (equivalent to most reviewers' five-star ratings, since I reserve five stars for recognized classics). I was in the Air Force many years ago and was stationed in Southern California, so I am quite familiar with the lan...
  • Jodi
    Aug 13, 2018
    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 sweet, and sometimes sad, description of growing up in a place where every life is spen...
  • Aria
    Aug 14, 2018
    ---- 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 title that it is about growing up. Sure, it's about growing up in a particular place, bu...
  • Ask Mor
    Aug 20, 2018
    I knew of the NAWS China Lake installation as a child in the 1980s only because my great uncle worked and lived on base as an electrical engineer. Little did I know I would end up there as an adult when my husband's military career would lead us to the Californian desert.  I enjoye...
  • Janice
    Jul 03, 2018
    I enjoyed this ARC. I wish the author had gone into a bit more detail on life at China Lake. As soon as she became a teenager there was far too much about her various relationships with men. None of which were interesting. I would also have liked to learn more about her academic career...
  • BookGypsy
    Sep 04, 2018
    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 Gypsy Novels N Latte Book Blog ...
  • Ren
    Aug 27, 2018
    For my personal taste, I would have given this 2 stars - but, gave it 3 thinking about other readers. I'm starting to realize that I prefer my memoirs more focused and thematic (David Sedaris, Ariel Levy, Augusten Burroughs, and The Glass Castle). The thing about these types of mem...
  • The Folding
    Aug 19, 2018
    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 wage it, developed in the laboratories in California?s China Lake Desert where Piper?...