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Full Body Burden  By  cover art

Full Body Burden

By: Kristen Iversen
Narrated by: Kirsten Potter, Kristen Iversen
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Publisher's summary

“An intimate and deeply human memoir that shows why we should all be concerned about nuclear safety, and the dangers of ignoring science in the name of national security.”—Rebecca Skloot, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

A shocking account of the government’s attempt to conceal the effects of the toxic waste released by a secret nuclear weapons plant in Colorado and a community’s vain search for justice—soon to be a feature documentary

Kristen Iversen grew up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated "the most contaminated site in America." Full Body Burden is the story of a childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and--unknown to those who lived there--tainted with invisible yet deadly particles of plutonium. It's also a book about the destructive power of secrets--both family and government. Her father's hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what was made at Rocky Flats--best not to inquire too deeply into any of it. But as Iversen grew older, she began to ask questions and discovered some disturbing realities.

Based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class-action testimony, this taut, beautifully written book is both captivating and unnerving.

©2012 Kristen Iversen (P)2012 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"Full Body Burden is one of the most important stories of the nuclear era - as personal and powerful as Silkwood, told with the suspense and narrative drive of The Hot Zone. With unflinching honesty, Kristen Iverson has written an intimate and deeply human memoir that shows why we should all be concerned about nuclear safety, and the dangers of ignoring science in the name of national security. Rocky Flats needs to be part of the same nuclear discussion as Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima. So does Full Body Burden. It's an essential and unforgettable book that should be talked about in schools and book clubs, online and in the White House." (Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks)

"What a surprise! You don't expect such (unobtrusively) beautiful writing in a book about nuclear weapons, nor such captivating storytelling. Plus the facts are solid and the science told in colloquial but never dumbed-down terms. If I could afford them, I'd want the movie rights. Having read scores of nuclear books, I venture a large claim: Kristin Iversen's Full Body Burden may be a classic of nuclear literature, filling a gap we didn't know existed among Hersey's Hiroshima, Burdick and Wheeler's Fail-Safe, and Kohn's Who Killed Karen Silkwood?" (Mark Hertsgaard, author of Nuclear Inc. and HOT)

"This terrifyingly brilliant book - as perfectly crafted and meticulously assembled as the nuclear bomb triggers that lie at its core - is a savage indictment of the American strategic weapons industry, both haunting in its power, and yet wonderfully, charmingly human as a memoir of growing up in the Atomic Age." (Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman and Atlantic)

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