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In the first chapter, the main character in the story, Randy Bragg, talks about how he once ran for the State Legislature and lost badly. At that time, in the mid-1950s in which the book is set, he speaks about the famous Supreme Court case in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that schools could not be segregated on the basis of race, and blacks would be allowed to attend formerly all white schools.
Because Bragg openly supported that decision in his campaign, the public turned against him and his opponent easily won the election. Although the story is about the threat of nuclear war, the mention of this case is important to set the tone for how life was in the 1950s, and for the reader, how differently people felt back then as compared to now.
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