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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 (cleaning supplies, her mother guessed) - best not to inquire too deeply into any of it.
But as Iversen grew older, she began to ask questions. She learned about the infamous 1969 Mother's Day fire, in which a few scraps of plutonium spontaneously ignited and - despite the desperate efforts of firefighters - came perilously close to a "criticality", the deadly blue flash that signals a nuclear chain reaction. Intense heat and radiation almost melted the roof, which nearly resulted in an explosion that would have had devastating consequences for the entire Denver metro area. Yet the only mention of the fire was on page 28 of the Rocky Mountain News, underneath a photo of the Pet of the Week. In her early thirties, Iversen even worked at Rocky Flats for a time, typing up memos in which accidents were always called "incidents".
And as this memoir unfolds, it reveals itself as a brilliant work of investigative journalism - a detailed and shocking account of the government's sustained attempt to conceal the effects of the toxic and radioactive waste released by Rocky Flats, and of local residents' vain attempts to seek justice in court. Here, too, are vivid portraits of former Rocky Flats workers - from the healthy, who regard their work at the plant with pride and patriotism, to the ill or dying, who battle for compensation for cancers they got on the job.
Based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class-action testimony, this taut, beautifully written book promises to have a very long half-life.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Carol on 01-28-13
A story that no one else wanted to tell.
What made the experience of listening to Full Body Burden the most enjoyable?
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Any additional comments?
If you live near ANY government facility that is surrounded by a fence, this is a MUST-read. If you live near any of the government facilities that are discussed - by name, this is an actionable-read.
1. The audio quality of the first 45 minutes (...or so) is sub-standard. Don't be discouraged by this: keep listening.
2. The ending could have included more detail about the blitzkrieg-cleanup of the buildings and soil.
P.S. The local-alternative newspaper she mentions is named Westword. It has a web site where archival issues can be viewed. About 10 years ago, they did an investigative series on Rocky Flats that is thorough and provides supporting data/viewpoints to Ms. Iversen's material
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
By sharon on 01-15-14
Important Information Every One should Know
At First I was not impressed with the story. The authors family is clearly dysfunctional.
It was hard to be sympathetic. The continuity was not the best. However the information
about our Nuclear program in Colorado was unbelievable . Rocky Flats was and IS one of the HOTTEST areas in the United States with plutonium pollution. Over all the information is compelling and a good "read" The narrator is very good.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful