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Kristen Iversen grew up in Arvada, Colorado, and holds a PhD from the University of Denver. She is the author of several books including the award-winning Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats (Crown), chosen by universities across the country for their Common Read vis mere programs and now the subject of a forthcoming documentary. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, Reader's Digest, American Scholar, Fourth Genre, and many other publications. She currently teaches at the University of Cincinnati, where she heads the PhD program in Literary Nonfiction. vis mindre

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female
Nationalitet
USA
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Des Moines, Iowa, USA

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My professor for Professional Responsibility (that is ethics for those who are not familiar with law school euphemisms) was a rather brilliant libertarian crank who had been for some time Ayn Rand's lawyer. One day he got into it (not for the first or last time) with one of our more loudmouthed classmates who is now a loudmouthed real estate developer who has public screaming matches with advocates for the environment and racial and economic justice. When the classmate was backed into a corner in the argument he yelled "Law has nothing to do with justice!" Every day for the rest of the term the prof wrote those words on the board followed by an attribution to that student whom I won't name here. As I read this book I kept thinking of that. Law has nothing to do with justice. I may not agree on much with that loudmouth student or with that libertarian prof but on this point we all come together.

Full Body Burden is the story of the history and impact of Rocky Flats, likely the most hazardous nuclear waste site in the US and the one for which the smallest amount of remediation and redress has been forthcoming. The government denies Rocky Flats is an issue despite having radioactive material in the soil and groundwater at rates higher than Nagasaki just after we bombed it. In fact Rocky Flats has been turned into a recreational area and wildlife preserve. But that is not the only story here. Don't miss the rest of the subtitle; The book is also about Kristen Iverson growing up. The cone of silence around Iverson's fracturing family is but a subset of the cone of silence around most things that are thought to be embarrassing, or which could prove inconvenient, like industrial poisoning that hurt or killed thousands of people. I grew up in the same type of corrosive environment a few years later and a 1000 miles away, but it was all recognizable. I was floored by how seamlessly Iverson knitted together the story of the Rocky Flats plant and the many people who died or were physically damaged by the cavalier flinging about of plutonium and other radioactive materials, and the destruction of a family forced into silence as they were ravaged by their father's alcoholism and their mother's repression and denial. Iverson's approach to the material is brilliant and innovative and she is a hell of a good writer. I have had this book on my shelf for years and every time I looked at it I thought it would be dry, but it was so far from that. It was riveting and affecting and infuriating, but not dry.

The moronic innocence of the 70's (see no evil, hear no evil, etc.) would be sad and sweet if it could be left to nostalgia, but alas most people still live there, ignoring things that will destroy us individually and collectively because it is inconvenient to stop things that provide jobs and/or increase comfort. I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who said “We will go down in history as the first society that wouldn't save itself because it wasn't cost effective.” Kurt was a true sage.

This is a very very good book. If you have a chance to read it, you should do that.
… (mere)
 
Markeret
Narshkite | 26 andre anmeldelser | Oct 4, 2023 |
Poignant and scary story about growing up radioactive....and how everyone just "accepted" that the waste plutonium stayed where it was put, not crossing an imaginary line.

 
Markeret
kwskultety | 26 andre anmeldelser | Jul 4, 2023 |
4.5 stars. Listened to the audio book. Part memoir, part history lesson, part investigative journalism. I knew of Rocky Flats and knew it was known as being a contaminated area, but I had no knowledge of the extensive environmental atrocities that occurred there.
 
Markeret
LittleSpeck | 26 andre anmeldelser | Nov 21, 2022 |

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