People are often only aware of what is in their own backyard: the intrusiveness of a radar tower here, an ammunition dump there. David Vine’s new book, “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World,” succeeds in shaking us out of our provincialism.

The author begins his book on America’s global military installations with a description of the less-publicized side of the U.S. base in Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay. Here the quotidian hallmarks of middle-class suburbia — manicured gardens, barbecue grills, artificial turf, a roller-skating rink, outdoor movie theater, post office, beauty care shops, schools, a chapel and a McDonald’s — compete for visual attention with heavy-duty military vehicles and razor wire. The point is clear: The very ordinariness of bases around the world belies their lethal impact on the lives of proximate residents and the environment.

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