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Part Two ’50s Noir in the Atomic Age A lot of it had fallen into place, piece by piece. Things I didn’t see before were suddenly clear. It was a gigantic puzzle that only started here in Manhattan. . . . The rest of it reached to Washington, across to San Francisco, then on across the ocean. And onward still until it encompassed the world. . . . They were photostats, ten in all, both negatives and positives, on extra thin paper. They were photos of a maze of symbols, diagrams and meaningless words. . . . A serious-voiced commentator . . . told the nation of the calamity that had befallen it. The secret of our newest, most powerful weapon was now, most likely, in the hands of agents of an unfriendly power. He told of the destruction that could be wrought, hinted at the continuance of the cold war with an aftermath of a hotter one. . . . The guardians of our government were jumping through hoops because the people demanded to know why the most heavily guarded secret we ever had could be swiped so easily. There were shakeups from the top to bottom and the rats were scurrying for cover, pleading for mercy. Investigators were turning up reds in the damnedest spots imaginable. . . . I took all the parts and let them drop, watching to see how they fit in place. They were all there now, every one. I could go out any time and show that picture around and anybody could tell that it was a big red flag with a star and a hammer and sickle. —Mickey Spillane, One Lonely Night (1951) ...


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