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Making a Real Killing: Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West Updated Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0826327987
ISBN-10: 0826327982
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"ÝAckland¨ skillfully weaves together individual experience with nuclear technology and politics. It's a model of investigation that should be read by all with concerns over the problems that accompany nuclear weapons and power."

A hard-edged history of a center of Cold War death-dealing technology. . . . Ackland also serves up a useful summary of American nuclear policy in the Cold War era . . . . The scary workings of Rocky Flats were far from ordinary. So, too, is this fine book of reportage and history.

"Making a Real Killing" is a model for making sense of the Cold War Atomic West. . . . It combines personal stories, excellent Cold War historical context, simplified technical explanations of complicated nuclear science, labor history, and corporate history into a compelling narrative. . . . "Making a Real Killing" should find its place not only alongside other recent atomic histories, but also next to the best books on understanding the American West of the last half-century.

"[Ackland] skillfully weaves together individual experience with nuclear technology and politics. It's a model of investigation that should be read by all with concerns over the problems that accompany nuclear weapons and power."

"A hard-edged history of a center of Cold War death-dealing technology. . . . Ackland also serves up a useful summary of American nuclear policy in the Cold War era . . . . The scary workings of Rocky Flats were far from ordinary. So, too, is this fine book of reportage and history."

""Making a Real Killing" is a model for making sense of the Cold War Atomic West. . . . It combines personal stories, excellent Cold War historical context, simplified technical explanations of complicated nuclear science, labor history, and corporate history into a compelling narrative. . . . "Making a Real Killing" should find its place not only alongside other recent atomic histories, but also next to the best books on understanding the American West of the last half-century."

From the Inside Flap

A chilling, fast-moving study of the nuclear weapons plant in the Denver suburbs, told through the experiences of managers, workers, activists, and neighbors who were all so deeply affected by the hazardous plant.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press; Updated edition (February 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826327982
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826327987
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
I look forward to reading this book. I was a Nuclear Engineer at Rocky Flats in the 80's. I quit after less than a year on site because I feared for my health. The plant was a mess. Everyone should read about what the cold war did to our country.

*I have read the book now* and I can say honestly that what I knew then was not half what I know now....this Nuclear plant was a disaster. I quit for fear for my health, and now I know I did the right thing....EVERY American should read this book...The price that the weapons race cost our country. And to think that suburban Denver is only a short distance away from this site...scarey.
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I grew up near Rocky Flats and have always found these stories of the nuclear arms industry really interesting, but this one is a good one. The early history goes in depth and the political connections at the time are explained which led to the selection of Colorado for the site selection, and the downfall and abysmal management are also "fun" to read about. I always feel that these stories are similar to the space race, where it is a story of science that is disconnected from reality.

If you are reading this for fun then the voice will be interesting to you, and if you are writing a paper or the like, there are plenty of facts in the ~200 pages that you can cite. This story has something for every reader.
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This book is a must read. I would have done well to read it when it came out. It took an earthquake, a tsunami, and a nuclear disaster to wake me up from a slumber and a recollection of the place I grew up.
March 11, 2011, found many of us wondering what to do. Those of us living in Japan were faced with the question of leaving our homes and pets and families to escape what had happened or would potentially happen.
Many did leave and they have their own stories. Many stayed and have their own stories to tell.
I remembered my fourth grade teacher saying in 1974 that "the Soviets have a missile pointed at your back yard." Along with KGB novels, this is how he disciplined our class.
I remembered the rumors about "two headed goats" or "glowing fish". This was way before "The Simpson's" and Three Mile Island or Chernobyl. I remembered my parents saying our suburban home north of Denver "used to be ranch land." Our streets were named after the ranchers who sold their ranch land to make the red-bricked suburban homes built in the 1960's.
I began to read and found Len Ackland's well-researched book explaing this history to me and from reading it, it all became so clear and I realized that from the close proximity of my home to Rocky Flats, the water I grew up drinking that flowed under Rocky Flats into the reservoir that brought the water into our kitchen, the leaking drums of nuclear waste out on the prairie, winds, fires, that I was much further from Fukushima than I was from Rocky Flats and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal between both of which my home sat. Both are now claiming to be "wildlife refuges." Will there one day be a "Fukushima Wildlife Refuge?"
I decided to stay in Japan.
Read more ›
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Well-written, well-researched with copious notes. Raising of the "national security" flag to avoid disclosure of information that the public has a need to know. With all the concern over aging nuclear power plants and how/where to dispose of expended materials, this book is a valuable resource.
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I grew up near (but fortunately not too close) to Rocky Flats, and my grandfather worked there for many years and eventually retired while Rockwell was still running the plant. While he couldn't talk about a lot of the stuff he worked on, the things he was able to tell me about were pretty crazy and disturbing. Stuff about the fires, and so on were almost unbelievable.

"Making a Real Killing" was a fascinating read from cover to cover, and really answered a lot of questions I've had about the Flats that my grandfather couldn't discuss when he was still alive. For anybody that lived in the Denver/Front Range area at the time, or is just fascinated by these creepy nuclear facilities, you will not be disappointed by this very well written and researched book.
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Excellent book. Thoughtful, well researched, balanced. Ackland's analysis of the Rocky Flats saga is possibly the best and most accurate of the various "histories" of the site. Written from the perspective of an investigative journalist it digs into all the nooks, cranies and crevices to tell an absolutely amazing story of human hubris and arrogance as well as "cold war" stupidity. Well done.
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This is a superb and in depth study of the ever growing, problematic nuclear weapons plants that are now a plague spread across our country and world wide ! Ackland has shown the details of the deliberate lies and cover ups that are based from the AEC thru the prime contractors and down to the management level then push onto the workers who's very lives have been sacrificed in the game of Cold War politics ! The promise of good paying jobs and steady employment betrays the growing communities that spring up in the down-wind path of radioactive fallout and drainage runoff that now and forever will continuously poison each generation of families who live in it's wake. Proof that the govt. and Pentagon will do anything to maintain it's veil of secrecy via it's propaganda machine, muting the FBI and bypassing grand jury indictments while the DOE , Rockwell and DOW walk away from their criminal activities ! Who will pay the ultimate price , ..... ? The workers with their hands in the glove boxes !
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