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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Rise of the Gunbelt by Ann Markusen, Peter Hall, Scott Campbell, and Sabina Deitrick


The Rise ofthe Gunbelt, a recently published work byArin Markusen, Peter Hall, Scott Campbell, and Sabina Deitrick, paints a portrait of the geography of military procurement contracting in America. A significant aspect of this geography is the uneven distribution of contracts between regions. Markusen et al. describe the areas of concentration as a gunbelt, stretching "from the state of Washington through California to the desert states of the Southwest, on through Texas and the Great Plains, across to Florida, and discontinuously up the East Coast to New England" (p. 3). The stated purposes of the book are to describe this gunbelt, "what is it, where is it and what does it do7" and also to describe how the concentration of military spending has shifted over time and why these shifts have occurred (p. 4). The authors address these questions by presenting empirical data that show the uneven distribution of military procurement contracts and how this distribution has changed in the postwar era. A major strength of their work lies in the highly detailed case studies of several of the most significant agglomerations of military production activity. The case studies give anecdotal evidence that demonstrates how and why shifts in the concentration of procurement contracts have occurred.

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