Full Body Burden - Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats-logo

Full Body Burden - Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats

Kristen Iversen

Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman, Kristen Iversen, growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated "the most contaminated site in America." It's 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 (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 th

Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman, Kristen Iversen, growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated "the most contaminated site in America." It's 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 (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 th
More Information

Description:

Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman, Kristen Iversen, growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated "the most contaminated site in America." It's 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 (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 th

Language:

English

Narrators:

Kirsten Potter

Length:

13h 57m


Chapters

Free Sample

03:05

Chapter 1
Chapter 1

00:17


Chapter 2
Chapter 2

00:15


Chapter 3
Chapter 3

03:08


Chapter 4
Chapter 4

05:03


Chapter 5
Chapter 5

05:19


Chapter 6
Chapter 6

06:46


Chapter 7
Chapter 7

05:28


Chapter 8
Chapter 8

04:45


Chapter 9
Chapter 9

04:52


Chapter 10
Chapter 10

05:12


Chapter 11
Chapter 11

04:31


Chapter 12
Chapter 12

04:49


Chapter 13
Chapter 13

06:37


Chapter 14
Chapter 14

05:06


Chapter 15
Chapter 15

05:22


Chapter 16
Chapter 16

06:54


Chapter 17
Chapter 17

05:57


Chapter 18
Chapter 18

06:51


Chapter 19
Chapter 19

06:44


Chapter 20
Chapter 20

06:07


Chapter 21
Chapter 21

05:03


Chapter 22
Chapter 22

05:27


Chapter 23
Chapter 23

04:35


Chapter 24
Chapter 24

06:06


Chapter 25
Chapter 25

07:30


Chapter 26
Chapter 26

05:08


Chapter 27
Chapter 27

05:58


Chapter 28
Chapter 28

06:26


Chapter 29
Chapter 29

06:15


Chapter 30
Chapter 30

04:43


Chapter 31
Chapter 31

07:47


Chapter 32
Chapter 32

05:34


Chapter 33
Chapter 33

07:47


Chapter 34
Chapter 34

07:31


Chapter 35
Chapter 35

05:35


Chapter 36
Chapter 36

09:08


Chapter 37
Chapter 37

06:16


Chapter 38
Chapter 38

05:06


Chapter 39
Chapter 39

06:42


Chapter 40
Chapter 40

03:31


Chapter 41
Chapter 41

05:48


Chapter 42
Chapter 42

07:21


Chapter 43
Chapter 43

07:11


Chapter 44
Chapter 44

07:59


Chapter 45
Chapter 45

09:11


Chapter 46
Chapter 46

05:40


Chapter 47
Chapter 47

06:11


Chapter 48
Chapter 48

04:36


Chapter 49
Chapter 49

08:04


Chapter 50
Chapter 50

07:43


Chapter 51
Chapter 51

06:33


Chapter 52
Chapter 52

05:56


Chapter 53
Chapter 53

06:41


Chapter 54
Chapter 54

06:44


Chapter 55
Chapter 55

06:15


Chapter 56
Chapter 56

08:59


Chapter 57
Chapter 57

04:17


Chapter 58
Chapter 58

05:49


Chapter 59
Chapter 59

04:29


Chapter 60
Chapter 60

05:37


Chapter 61
Chapter 61

03:41


Chapter 62
Chapter 62

06:09


Chapter 63
Chapter 63

08:56


Chapter 64
Chapter 64

04:30


Chapter 65
Chapter 65

05:56


Chapter 66
Chapter 66

05:34


Chapter 67
Chapter 67

04:47


Chapter 68
Chapter 68

04:27


Chapter 69
Chapter 69

06:17


Chapter 70
Chapter 70

07:39


Chapter 71
Chapter 71

06:00


Chapter 72
Chapter 72

05:46


Chapter 73
Chapter 73

08:17


Chapter 74
Chapter 74

07:51


Chapter 75
Chapter 75

05:49


Chapter 76
Chapter 76

07:52


Chapter 77
Chapter 77

07:48


Chapter 78
Chapter 78

05:38


Chapter 79
Chapter 79

04:20


Chapter 80
Chapter 80

07:42


Chapter 81
Chapter 81

07:24


Chapter 82
Chapter 82

08:43


Chapter 83
Chapter 83

06:02


Chapter 84
Chapter 84

05:16


Chapter 85
Chapter 85

04:48


Chapter 86
Chapter 86

07:11


Chapter 87
Chapter 87

07:12


Chapter 88
Chapter 88

07:14


Chapter 89
Chapter 89

04:19


Chapter 90
Chapter 90

05:39


Chapter 91
Chapter 91

08:01


Chapter 92
Chapter 92

08:03


Chapter 93
Chapter 93

04:39


Chapter 94
Chapter 94

06:28


Chapter 95
Chapter 95

07:24


Chapter 96
Chapter 96

05:22


Chapter 97
Chapter 97

05:14


Chapter 98
Chapter 98

04:33


Chapter 99
Chapter 99

07:31


Chapter 100
Chapter 100

06:10


Chapter 101
Chapter 101

06:30


Chapter 102
Chapter 102

03:26


Chapter 103
Chapter 103

09:25


Chapter 104
Chapter 104

06:07


Chapter 105
Chapter 105

05:39


Chapter 106
Chapter 106

05:41


Chapter 107
Chapter 107

04:21


Chapter 108
Chapter 108

07:03


Chapter 109
Chapter 109

06:28


Chapter 110
Chapter 110

06:13


Chapter 111
Chapter 111

05:47


Chapter 112
Chapter 112

04:59


Chapter 113
Chapter 113

05:39


Chapter 114
Chapter 114

07:09


Chapter 115
Chapter 115

05:51


Chapter 116
Chapter 116

06:18


Chapter 117
Chapter 117

04:50


Chapter 118
Chapter 118

06:23


Chapter 119
Chapter 119

05:47


Chapter 120
Chapter 120

06:27


Chapter 121
Chapter 121

03:50


Chapter 122
Chapter 122

07:40


Chapter 123
Chapter 123

04:38


Chapter 124
Chapter 124

07:20


Chapter 125
Chapter 125

06:23


Chapter 126
Chapter 126

05:37


Chapter 127
Chapter 127

04:21


Chapter 128
Chapter 128

05:40


Chapter 129
Chapter 129

07:35


Chapter 130
Chapter 130

06:13


Chapter 131
Chapter 131

07:05


Chapter 132
Chapter 132

06:53


Chapter 133
Chapter 133

07:43


Chapter 134
Chapter 134

05:19


Chapter 135
Chapter 135

06:42


Chapter 136
Chapter 136

08:50


Chapter 137
Chapter 137

09:16


Chapter 138
Chapter 138

00:29