Archive for September, 2012

Recommended for Common Reading and Social Science Courses: Full Body Burden, Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats

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Selected for Common Reading at Four Colleges & Universities: California State University, Sacramento;  Fort Lewis College; Michigan Technological University; and Virginia Commonwealth University

Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman 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 growing up 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 secrets and government secrets. Her father’s hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what they 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. In her early thirties, she even worked at Rocky Flats for a time, typing up memos in which accidents were always called “incidents.” And as this memoir unfolds, it also reveals itself as a brilliant work of investigative journalism—a 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. 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. (more…)

September 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm Leave a comment

Red Ink by David Wessel Picked Up at The University of Hawaii

This semester, Dan Boylan, a prominent political commentator in Hawaii, is assigning Red Ink to the class he teaches at University of Hawaii – West Oahu.  To read his article, “Sobering Dose of Economic Reality,” click here.

David Wessel, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning reporter, columnist, and bestselling author of In Fed We Trust, dissects a topic–the federal budget–that is fiercely debated today in the halls of Congress and the media, and yet is misunderstood by the American public.

In a sweeping narrative about the people and the politics behind the budget, Wessel looks at the 2011 fiscal year (which ended September 30) to see where all the money was actually spent, and why the budget process has grown wildly out of control. Through the eyes of key people–Jacob Lew, White House director of the Office of Management and Budget; Douglas Elmendorf, director of the Congressional Budget Office; Blackstone founder and former Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson; and more–Wessel gives readers an inside look at the making of our unsustainable budget.

“David Wessel’s Red Ink is a wise and pithy introduction to the great economic issue of our time.” –N. Gregory Mankiw, professor of Economics, Harvard University (more…)

September 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm Leave a comment


New trade fiction, non-fiction and memoir being used in the classroom.

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