"Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats" is the All Bonaventure Reads selection for the class of 2017.
All first-year students are asked to read the annual All Bonaventure Reads text, which is the cornerstone of the University 101 course. Many other courses will adopt the text, and the entire campus community is invited to read the book and participate in the numerous events planned over the course of the fall semester.
"Full Body Burden" is the memoir of a woman who grew up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated “the most contaminated site in America."
Growing up in Arvada, Colo., near the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant, author Kristen Iversen’s family and most of her blue-collar neighbors thought Rocky Flats made household cleaning supplies. Under the backdrop of the Cold War, Rocky Flats spent more than 30 years secretly producing plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs. (The title refers to the amount of radioactive material at any time in a human body.)
In the late 1970s, “as the truth began to spread, people protested at the bomb plant and worried about radioactive and toxic waste in surrounding neighborhoods,” wrote Iversen. But production of the triggers would continue until 1989 after the FBI and EPA raided the plant.
Described as part investigative journalism and part memoir, “Full Body Burden” explores secrets — not only of the government’s cover-up of nuclear contamination, but of Iversen’s own family’s silences, too, where her father’s drinking and her mother’s denial were routinely disregarded.
About the author
Kristen Iversen will speak with clusters of students throughout the day and conclude her visit with an evening freshman address at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center Arena. Her talk is free and open to the public.
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