I'm an elementary teacher librarian in northeast Iowa where I spend my days surrounded by children and books. I enjoy reading anything and everything in my free time, as well as spending time with my family.
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Kristen Iversen's memoir Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats is an eye-opening look at the Colorado community she grew up in, just next door to a factory making plutonium pins for nuclear bombs. Iversen and her siblings were raised near the beautiful Rocky Mountains- a location I associate with clean air and healthy living. Yet, what the community around Rocky Flats was exposed to was anything but healthy.
Increased incidence of cancer and lingering health issues have long been the norm for residents surrounding Rocky Flats. Despite the vast amount of evidence suggesting that plutonium was responsible for these health problems, little to nothing has been done for the victims. Instead the government has denied any responsibility for the problems people battle.
Iversen has chronicled all of this very carefully and clearly in Full Body Burden, working on this book for over a decade. She has spoke with former employees, attorneys, and residents to hear their stories and the way they have been affected by Rocky Flats. For a brief time Iversen was an employee at Rocky Flats herself.
I was amazed by this book, which reminded me of the movie Erin Brockovich. This will no doubt be one of the best non-fiction books I read this year, and I have been recommending it to every friend I have that is a reader.