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Full Body Burden with Kristen Iversen (Burlington)

Event date: 
Monday, November 12, 2012 - 7:00pm

The health effects of short-term, high-level radioactive contamination are fairly well known, but what are the health effects of long-term, low-level exposure? While scientists and physicists continue to debate the topic, one fact is certain: there is no safe level of exposure to plutonium. Even one millionth of a gram, which is easily inhaled, is potentially lethal. And too many of us are at risk of exposure to this or other radioactive substances. Join Kristen Iversen for 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.

Kristen Iversen’s haunting new book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, skillfully combines investigative journalism with personal memoir. Drawing on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class-action testimony, along with her own experiences growing up just miles from Rocky Flats, Iversen presents a full picture about a childhood lived in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and—unknown to those who lived there—tainted with invisible deadly particles of plutonium.

"The fight over Rocky Flats was and is a paradigmatic American battle, of corporate and government power set against the bravery and anger of normal people. This is a powerful and beautiful account, of great use to all of us who will fight the battles that lie ahead." --Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Eaarth

"In this powerful work of research and personal testimony, Iversen chronicles the story of America’s willfully blinkered relationship to the nuclear weapons industry through the haunting experience of her own family in Colorado…The grief was ongoing, as Iversen renders in her masterly use of the present tense, conveying tremendous suspense and impressive control of her material." --Publishers Weekly (starred)

Kristen Iversen grew up in Arvada, Colorado, near the Rocky Flats nuclear weaponry facility and received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Denver. She is director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Memphis and editor-in-chief of The Pinch, an award-winning literary journal. She is also the author of Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth, winner of the Colorado Book Award for Biography and the Barbara Sudler Award for Nonfiction. Iversen has two sons and currently lives in Memphis.  Visit her online at

Event address: 
191 Bank Street
05401 Burlington
Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780307955630
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - June 5th, 2012