28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A Frightening and Horrific Book About Atomic Bomb Plants,
This review is from: Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats (Hardcover)
Be prepared to be terrified, amazed and astounded as you read this book about the Nuclear horror of Rocky Flats near Denver, Colorado. Like Los Alamos, it is a research facility, builder of plutonium triggers and this site was initiated to fight our part of the cold war. Right in the back yard of this nuclear test site and plutonium harvester, were homes where children played in the smudge of plutonium, rode horses across contaminated land, and drank water from poisoned wells.
Kristen Iversen intersperses the history of Rocky Flats with the story of her Nordic Family - a family that keeps secrets and does not speak out of turn - and do they ever have a lot of secrets to keep. Kristen's father is an attorney who is heading down the deep slope of alcoholism, her mother refuses to acknowledge what is happening at Rocky Flats. She talks about cleaning agents being manufactured there.
Despite the workers coming down with epidemiological markers for cancer, the government just won't take the people seriously. There are more agencies of the government than I could have ever imagined and each one is there to protect another agency. They work in tandem to keep the public relations good and the people fooled.
Kristen has spent years writing this book, interviewing people, going over court cases and following the problems from the very start. She opens with the Manhattan Project which began in 1942 and closes with the classic poem, 'Plutonium Ode' by Alan Ginserg. I grew up listening to Ginsberg and he was a brave poet who knew when to speak up and how to do it. He feared nothing and told the truth. Even in the days when homosexuality was in the closet, Ginsberg was out of the closet.
Ms. Iversen has done a grand job, much in the tradition of Body Toxic and A Civil Action. Both of these non-fiction books about the impact of atomic waste sites have served to raise the readers' consciousness and have informed us of the danger of radioactivity.
It is just as dangerous to try and clean up nuclear waste sites as it is to build them. Where does one put all the supposed 'cleaned up' material. It can't just be buried under contrete because activity takes place underground where soil shifts and animals burrow. On top of the land, flowers and weeds bloom on the site and blow in the wind for some poor soul to inhale.
This is a poetic and heart-wrenching book, one that is eye-opening and frightening to the infinite degree. I recommend that anyone who has an interest in what is happening with atomic energy read this. It is written in an accessible way, much like the two other books that I cited. Ms. Iversen has a great way with words.
The book could use a bit of editing but what I read was an uncorrected proof and I expect that further editing will be done. Thank you Ms. Iversen for opening our eyes to Rocky Flats and the underworld of 'full body burden'.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 10, 2012 11:29:23 PM PDT
Bonnie--I won this book from SA and it is one of the few memoirs that I may want to read! Bug
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 6:16:56 AM PDT
Pamela A. Poddany says:
Scary stuff especially because it is REAL. Good review.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2012 7:07:40 AM PDT
Bug, I won this from SA, too. I highly recommend it. Bonnie
Posted on Jun 12, 2012 7:11:11 AM PDT
Jill I. Shtulman says:
Excellent review, Bonnie, on what is a very crucial topic. Interestingly, there was a John Wayne movie that was filmed in an atomic waste area in the late 1950s. Every single key cast member -- including John Wayne himself -- eventually died of cancer. Scary stuff.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2012 7:13:07 AM PDT
Jill, I received this book from SA and read it because it seemed so topical. Wow, was it ever scary. Bonnie
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 29, 2012 9:13:51 PM PDT
M Maurin says:
The Conqueror. http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/
Posted on Sep 2, 2014 12:21:08 PM PDT
J. Barnes says:
I would change your title to: A Frightening and Horrific Book About Atomic Bomb Plants. Using the term "atomic energy plants" misleads people to think it is about nuclear power plants, which it is not.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 2, 2014 1:26:53 PM PDT
J. Barnes, I did just what you suggested. Thanks, Bonnie
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