Yellow Dirt and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $26.00
  • Save: $6.88 (26%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Like New | Details
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: The cover shows no damage or marks! May have a remainder mark. Fast Shipping - Safe and Secure Bubble Mailer!
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed Hardcover – September 21, 2010

See all 10 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, September 21, 2010
$0.92 $0.01

Frequently Bought Together

Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed + If You Poison Us: Uranium and Native Americans + The Navajo People and Uranium Mining
Price for all three: $58.18

Some of these items ship sooner than the others.

Buy the selected items together


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (September 21, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416594825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416594826
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In the 1940s, when the U.S. government was embarking on developing atomic weapons, it discovered huge uranium deposits in Navajo territory covering parts of Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. Mines constructed there yielded uranium that would be used in the Manhattan Project and eventually in the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Navajo themselves saw little of the huge profits from uranium but as workers and land dwellers would suffer radiation exposure four times that of the Japanese targeted by the A-bomb. Award-winning environmental journalist Pasternak follows four generations of Navajo families, from the patriarch who warned against violating the land to those tempted by the prospects of jobs and money. She chronicles the cultural stoicism that prohibited them from complaining for so long about the alarming rates of cancer deaths, the betrayal of trust by corporate and government interests, the growing awareness of the tragedy visited on them in the name of national security, and the efforts to fight for restoration. A stunning look at a shameful chapter in American history with long-lasting implications for all Americans concerned with environmental justice. --Vanessa Bush


"This book will break your heart. Not only an enormous achievement – literally, a piece of groundbreaking investigative journalism – it also illustrates exactly what careful, painstaking, and risk-taking reporting should do: Show us what we’ve become as a people, and sharpen our vision of who we, the people, ought to become."--The Christian Science Monitor

"Studded with vivid character sketches and evocative descriptions of the American landscape, Pasternak's scarifying account of  uranium mining's disastrous consequences often reads like a novel...does justic to the ethical and historial ambiguities while crafting a narrative of exemplary clarity."--Los Angeles Times

"Chilling. Has the cumulative power of scrupulous truth-telling and the value of old-style investigative reportage."--Laura Miller, Salon

“This book is a masterwork. It is journalism at its very best—a story told fully and eloquently. A story that everyone should know.”
—Michael Connelly, author of Nine Dragons

“One of those stories that makes us believe all over again in journalism, in its power to bring truth to light.” —Harvard’s Nieman Narrative Digest

“This compelling and compassionate book could not be more timely. A gripping story of the betrayal of the Navajos, it comes at a time where once again the human costs of energy production are slighted and both the government and corporations ride roughshod over the least powerful.”
—Richard White, Pulitzer Prize finalist, Recipient of a Macarthur Fellowship, and Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Stanford University

"An astounding book. Judy Pasternak has dug deeply into the archives and into the ground itself to uncover the real story behind one of the darkest chapters of the Cold War on American soil. With her dogged pursuit of the facts and an elegant prose style, Pasternak elevates investigative journalism into the realm of literature." -- Tom Zoellner, author of Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock that Shaped the World

"Disturbing and illuminating. Pasternak evokes the magnitude of a nuclear disaster that continues to reverberate. Unfolds like true crime, where real-life heroes and villains play dynamic roles in a drama that escalates page by page. Eye-opening and riveting, "Yellow Dirt" gives a sobering glimpse into our atomic past and adds a critical voice to the debate about resurrecting America's nuclear industry."--The Washington Post

"A window into a dark chapter of modern history that still reverberates today.Transporting readers into a little-known country-within-a-country, award-winning journalist Judy Pasternak gives rare voice to Navajo perceptions of the world, their own complicated involvement with uranium mining, and their political coming-of-age. A work of the highest quality journalism, an exposé made possible by meticulous research... She has taken a large cast of characters, a bulging list of corporations and government agencies, and a scientific subject and managed to unite them in a story that the average reader can comprehend."--Stacy Rae Brownlie, BookBrowse

More About the Author

Judy Pasternak is a non-fiction writer in Washington DC. For 24 years, she was a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, covering topics as varied as al Qaeda's private airline, the impact of gangs on a Watts middle school, a band of bank-robbing right-wing extremists, and the giant black hole at the middle of the Milky Way. Her beats in LA included Malibu, smog and science; she was also a Chicago-based national correspondent for the paper and a member of the national investigative team in DC.

Her 2006 series about the environmental devastation wrought by uranium mining on the Navajo homeland won numerous national journalism awards, prompted a Congressional hearing and led to a five-year federal cleanup plan.

She expanded that series, framing the story with a four-generation family saga, for her first book. Yellow Dirt won the 2009 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award and was selected as one of the Best Books of 2010 by both the Christian Science Monitor and Publishers Weekly.