Plutopia

Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters

Author: Kathryn L. Brown

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199855765

Category: History

Page: 406

View: 1176

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In Plutopia, Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia-the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias--communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Brown shows that the plants' segregation of permanent and temporary workers and of nuclear and non-nuclear zones created a bubble of immunity, where dumps and accidents were glossed over and plant managers freely embezzled and polluted. In four decades, the Hanford plant near Richland and the Maiak plant near Ozersk each issued at least 200 million curies of radioactive isotopes into the surrounding environment--equaling four Chernobyls--laying waste to hundreds of square miles and contaminating rivers, fields, forests, and food supplies. Because of the decades of secrecy, downwind and downriver neighbors of the plutonium plants had difficulty proving what they suspected, that the rash of illnesses, cancers, and birth defects in their communities were caused by the plants' radioactive emissions. Plutopia was successful because in its zoned-off isolation it appeared to deliver the promises of the American dream and Soviet communism; in reality, it concealed disasters that remain highly unstable and threatening today. -- From publisher description.

Uranium

War, Energy, and the Rock That Shaped the World

Author: Tom Zoellner

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 1101024526

Category: Science

Page: 368

View: 2377

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The fascinating story of the most powerful source of energy the earth can yield Uranium is a common element in the earth's crust and the only naturally occurring mineral with the power to end all life on the planet. After World War II, it reshaped the global order-whoever could master uranium could master the world. Marie Curie gave us hope that uranium would be a miracle panacea, but the Manhattan Project gave us reason to believe that civilization would end with apocalypse. Slave labor camps in Africa and Eastern Europe were built around mine shafts and America would knowingly send more than six hundred uranium miners to their graves in the name of national security. Fortunes have been made from this yellow dirt; massive energy grids have been run from it. Fear of it panicked the American people into supporting a questionable war with Iraq and its specter threatens to create another conflict in Iran. Now, some are hoping it can help avoid a global warming catastrophe. In Uranium, Tom Zoellner takes readers around the globe in this intriguing look at the mineral that can sustain life or destroy it.

Being Nuclear

Africans and the Global Uranium Trade

Author: Gabrielle Hecht

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262300672

Category: History

Page: 480

View: 9817

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Uranium from Africa has long been a major source of fuel for nuclear power and atomic weapons, including the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In 2003, after the infamous "yellow cake from Niger," Africa suddenly became notorious as a source of uranium, a component of nuclear weapons. But did that admit Niger, or any of Africa's other uranium-producing countries, to the select society of nuclear states? Does uranium itself count as a nuclear thing? In this book, Gabrielle Hecht lucidly probes the question of what it means for something--a state, an object, an industry, a workplace--to be "nuclear." Hecht shows that questions about being nuclear--a state that she calls "nuclearity"--lie at the heart of today's global nuclear order and the relationships between "developing nations" (often former colonies) and "nuclear powers" (often former colonizers). Hecht enters African nuclear worlds, focusing on miners and the occupational hazard of radiation exposure. Could a mine be a nuclear workplace if (as in some South African mines) its radiation levels went undetected and unmeasured? With this book, Hecht is the first to put Africa in the nuclear world, and the nuclear world in Africa. By doing so, she remakes our understanding of the nuclear age.

The Missile Next Door

The Minuteman in the American Heartland

Author: Gretchen Heefner

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674067460

Category: History

Page: 282

View: 4580

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In the 1960s the Air Force buried 1,000 ICBMs in pastures across the Great Plains to keep U.S. nuclear strategy out of view. As rural civilians of all political stripes found themselves living in the Soviet crosshairs, a proud Plains individualism gave way to an economic dependence on the military-industrial complex that still persists today.

Plutopia

Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters

Author: Kate Brown

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 019932381X

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 5868

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While many transnational histories of the nuclear arms race have been written, Kate Brown provides the first definitive account of the great plutonium disasters of the United States and the Soviet Union. In Plutopia, Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the extraordinary stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia-the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias--communities of nuclear families living in highly-subsidized, limited-access atomic cities. Fully employed and medically monitored, the residents of Richland and Ozersk enjoyed all the pleasures of consumer society, while nearby, migrants, prisoners, and soldiers were banned from plutopia--they lived in temporary "staging grounds" and often performed the most dangerous work at the plant. Brown shows that the plants' segregation of permanent and temporary workers and of nuclear and non-nuclear zones created a bubble of immunity, where dumps and accidents were glossed over and plant managers freely embezzled and polluted. In four decades, the Hanford plant near Richland and the Maiak plant near Ozersk each issued at least 200 million curies of radioactive isotopes into the surrounding environment--equaling four Chernobyls--laying waste to hundreds of square miles and contaminating rivers, fields, forests, and food supplies. Because of the decades of secrecy, downwind and downriver neighbors of the plutonium plants had difficulty proving what they suspected, that the rash of illnesses, cancers, and birth defects in their communities were caused by the plants' radioactive emissions. Plutopia was successful because in its zoned-off isolation it appeared to deliver the promises of the American dream and Soviet communism; in reality, it concealed disasters that remain highly unstable and threatening today. An untold and profoundly important piece of Cold War history, Plutopia invites readers to consider the nuclear footprint left by the arms race and the enormous price of paying for it.

Dispatches from Dystopia

Histories of Places Not Yet Forgotten

Author: Kate Brown

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022624279X

Category: History

Page: 198

View: 3443

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The author "wanders the Chernobyl Zone of Alienation, first on the Internet and then in person, to figure out which version -- the real or the virtual -- is the actual forgery. She also takes us to the basement of a hotel in Seattle to examine the personal possessions left in storage by Japanese Americans on their way to internment camps in 1942. In Uman, Ukraine, we hide with Brown in a tree in order to witness the male-only Rosh Hashanah celebration of Hasidic Jews. In the Russian southern Urals, she speaks with the citizens of the small city of Kyshtym, where invisible radioactive pollutants have mysteriously blighted lives. Finally, Brown returns home to Elgin, Illinois, in the industrial rust belt, to investigate the rise of "rustalgia" and the ways her formative experiences have inspired her obsession with modernist wastelands."--Jacket flap.

Full Body Burden

Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats

Author: Kristen Iversen

Publisher: Broadway Books

ISBN: 0307955648

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 432

View: 4870

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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 the job. 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.

Stalin and the Bomb

The Soviet Union and Atomic Energy, 1939-1956

Author: David Holloway

Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300066647

Category: Political Science

Page: 464

View: 7134

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'Stalin and the Bomb' represents a comprehensive history of Soviet nuclear policy, from developments in physics in the 1920s to the emergence of nuclear deterrence in the 1950s. The author looks at how the bombs were built, and the role that espionage played.

Making a Real Killing

Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West

Author: Len Ackland

Publisher: UNM Press

ISBN: 9780826327987

Category: Health & Fitness

Page: 308

View: 7650

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p>Just as huge nuclear explosions result from small spheres of plutonium, the story of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant near Denver, Colorado is much larger than itself. It is about the Church family, who came West seeking gold in 1861, stayed to raise cattle, watched the federal government take a large piece of its land for the weapons plant in 1951--and now is busily developing real estate in the booming suburbs next to the contaminated plant site. It is about the government and private corporations that produced the deadliest devices in history for thirty-seven years, concealed problems behind the wall of national security secrecy, and came close to a Chernobyl-scale disaster during a 1969 fire. It is about plant managers who cut corners to maintain weapons production, workers who saw themselves as loyal Cold War soldiers, and citizen activists who challenged the plant's very existence. And it is about a community that profited from thousands of jobs and contracts but now faces long-term environmental and health risks. Making a Real Killingexamines the way Americans participated in building a nuclear weapons arsenal capable of destroying the human species. To read it is to learn some sobering lessons, including the fact that the democratic process lagged decades behind technological developments. "As Americans reckon with the legacy of the Cold War,Making a Real Killingdeserves a place at the center of our attention. Len Ackland's integrity and hard work remind us how crucial energetic journalism is for a successful democracy."--Patricia Nelson Limerick

Innocent Weapons

The Soviet and American Politics of Childhood in the Cold War

Author: Margaret Peacock

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 1469618575

Category: History

Page: 304

View: 1369

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Innocent Weapons: The Soviet and American Politics of Childhood in the Cold War

Atomic Spaces

Living on the Manhattan Project

Author: Peter Bacon Hales

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252068317

Category: History

Page: 456

View: 4127

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Code-named the Manhattan Project, the detailed plans for developing an atomic bomb were impelled by urgency and shrouded in secrecy. This book tells the story of the project's three key sites: Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico.

The Day the Sun Rose in the West

Bikini, the Lucky Dragon, and I

Author: Matashichi Ōishi,Richard H. Minear

Publisher: University of Hawaii Press

ISBN: 9780824835576

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 165

View: 3025

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A translation of Bikini jiken no shinjitsu, expanded by excerpts from Bikini jiken no omote to ure, and shortened by deletions especially from Chapter 4

A Biography of No Place

Author: Kate BROWN

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674028937

Category: History

Page: 322

View: 9895

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This is a biography of a borderland between Russia and Poland, a region where, in 1925, people identified as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived side by side. Over the next three decades, this mosaic of cultures was modernized and homogenized out of existence by the ruling might of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and finally, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. By the 1950s, this "no place" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mix of peoples that defined the region was destroyed. Brown's study is grounded in the life of the village and shtetl, in the personalities and small histories of everyday life in this area. In impressive detail, she documents how these regimes, bureaucratically and then violently, separated, named, and regimented this intricate community into distinct ethnic groups. Drawing on recently opened archives, ethnography, and oral interviews that were unavailable a decade ago, A Biography of No Place reveals Stalinist and Nazi history from the perspective of the remote borderlands, thus bringing the periphery to the center of history. We are given, in short, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, as well as a glimpse at the margins of twentieth-century "progress." Table of Contents: Glossary Introduction 1. Inventory 2. Ghosts in the Bathhouse 3. Moving Pictures 4. The Power to Name 5. A Diary of Deportation 6. The Great Purges and the Rights of Man 7. Deportee into Colonizer 8. Racial Hierarchies Epilogue: Shifting Borders, Shifting Identities Notes Archival Sources Acknowledgments Index This is a biography of a borderland between Russia and Poland, a region where, in 1925, people identified as Poles, Germans, Jews, Ukrainians, and Russians lived side by side. Over the next three decades, this mosaic of cultures was modernized and homogenized out of existence by the ruling might of the Soviet Union, then Nazi Germany, and finally, Polish and Ukrainian nationalism. By the 1950s, this "no place" emerged as a Ukrainian heartland, and the fertile mix of peoples that defined the region was destroyed. Brown's study is grounded in the life of the village and shtetl, in the personalities and small histories of everyday life in this area. In impressive detail, she documents how these regimes, bureaucratically and then violently, separated, named, and regimented this intricate community into distinct ethnic groups. Drawing on recently opened archives, ethnography, and oral interviews that were unavailable a decade ago, A Biography of No Place reveals Stalinist and Nazi history from the perspective of the remote borderlands, thus bringing the periphery to the center of history. Brown argues that repressive national policies grew not out of chauvinist or racist ideas, but the very instruments of modern governance - the census, map, and progressive social programs - first employed by Bolshevik reformers in the western borderlands. We are given, in short, an intimate portrait of the ethnic purification that has marked all of Europe, as well as a glimpse at the margins of twentieth century "progress." Kate Brown is Assistant Professor of History at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. A Biography of No Place is one of the most original and imaginative works of history to emerge in the western literature on the former Soviet Union in the last ten years. Historiographically fearless, Kate Brown writes with elegance and force, turning this history of a lost, but culturally rich borderland into a compelling narrative that serves as a microcosm for understanding nation and state in the Twentieth Century. With compassion and respect for the diverse people who inhabited this margin of territory between Russia and Poland, Kate Brown restores the voices, memories, and humanity of a people lost. --Lynne Viola, Professor of History, University of Toronto Samuel Butler and Kate Brown have something in common. Both have written about Erewhon with imagination and flair. I was captivated by the courage and enterprise behind this book. Is there a way to write a history of events that do not make rational sense? Kate Brown asks. She proceeds to give us a stunning answer. --Modris Eksteins, author of Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age Kate Brown tells the story of how succeeding regimes transformed a onetime multiethnic borderland into a far more ethnically homogeneous region through their often murderous imperialist and nationalist projects. She writes evocatively of the inhabitants' frequently challenged identities and livelihoods and gives voice to their aspirations and laments, including Poles, Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, and Russians. A Biography of No Place is a provocative meditation on the meanings of periphery and center in the writing of history. --Mark von Hagen, Professor of History, Columbia University

Masquerade

The Incredible True Story of How George Soros' Father Outsmarted the Gestapo

Author: Tivadar Soros

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

ISBN: 1628720190

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 7455

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The Nazis came late to Hungary because, until early 1944, Germany and Hungary were allies. But when they did arrive, their orders were to put the “Final Solution” into effect with deliberate speed. Soros, a Jewish lawyer in Budapest, secured fake Christian identities for himself, his wife, and his two sons following the German invasion of Hungary on March 19, 1944. In a narrative reminiscent of the great Primo Levi, Soros recounts his experiences with a beguiling humor, deep humanity, and a wisdom that is humbling. Superbly translated by Humphrey Tonkin, Masquerade is a unique account of how one man managed not only to survive but to retain his integrity, compassion, family unity, and humor by “dancing around death.” Like Klemperer’s Diary of the Nazi Years, this very personal, low-key testament of the Holocaust is a gripping depiction of “normal” daily life under the Nazis—told by a man who triumphed by leading an ordinary life under extraordinary and terrifying circumstances.

Made in Hanford

The Bomb that Changed the World

Author: Hill Williams

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: History

Page: 190

View: 8098

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On the eve of World War II, news of an astonishing breakthrough filtered out of Germany. Scientists there had split uranium atoms. Physicists in the United States scrambled to verify results and further investigate this new science. Ominously, they soon recognized its potential to fuel the ultimate weapon, one able to release the energy of an uncontrolled chain reaction. With growing fears that the Nazis were on the verge of harnessing nuclear power, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gambled on a project to research and produce uranium for military use. By 1941, experiments led to the identification of plutonium, but laboratory work generated the new element in amounts far too small to be useful. Large-scale manufacture would be required. In 1942, a small plane carrying Lt. Col. Franklin T. Matthias and two DuPont engineers flew over three farming communities in eastern Washington. The passengers agreed. Isolated and near the powerful Columbia River, the region was the ideal site for the world's first plutonium factory. Two years later, built with a speed and secrecy unheard of today, the facility was operational. The plutonium it produced fueled the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, and others tested on the Bikini and Enewetak Atolls, profoundly altering many lives. Through clear scientific explanations and personal reminiscences, the author traces the amazing but also tragic story of the plutonium bomb from the dawn of nuclear science through World War II and Cold War testing in the Marshall Islands.

Song of the Forest

Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905-1953

Author: Stephen Brain

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press

ISBN: 0822977494

Category: History

Page: 232

View: 7132

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The Soviets are often viewed as insatiable industrialists who saw nature as a force to be tamed and exploited. Song of the Forest counters this assumption, uncovering significant evidence of Soviet conservation efforts in forestry, particularly under Josef Stalin. In his compelling study, Stephen Brain profiles the leading Soviet-era conservationists, agencies, and administrators, and their efforts to formulate forest policy despite powerful ideological differences. By the time of the revolution of 1905, modern Russian forestry science had developed an influential romantic strand, especially prevalent in the work of Georgii Morozov, whose theory of “stand types” asked forest managers to consider native species and local conditions when devising plans for regenerating forests. After their rise to power, the Bolsheviks turned their backs on this tradition and adopted German methods, then considered the most advanced in the world, for clear-cutting and replanting of marketable tree types in “artificial forests.” Later, when Stalin's Five Year Plan required vast amounts of timber for industrialization, forest radicals proposed “flying management,” an exaggerated version of German forestry where large tracts of virgin forest would be clear-cut. Opponents who still upheld Morozov's vision favored a conservative regenerating approach, and ultimately triumphed by establishing the world's largest forest preserve. Another radical turn came with the Great Stalin Plan for the Transformation of Nature, implemented in 1948. Narrow “belts” of new forest planted on the vast Russian steppe would block drying winds, provide cool temperatures, trap moisture, and increase crop production. Unfortunately, planters were ordered to follow the misguided methods of the notorious Trofim Lysenko, and the resulting yields were abysmal. But despite Lysenko, agency infighting, and an indifferent peasant workforce, Stalin's forestry bureaus eventually succeeded in winning many environmental concessions from industrial interests. In addition, the visionary teachings of Morozov found new life, ensuring that the forest's song did not fall upon deaf ears.

Producing Power

The Pre-Chernobyl History of the Soviet Nuclear Industry

Author: Sonja D. Schmid

Publisher: MIT Press

ISBN: 0262028271

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 400

View: 1203

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An examination of how the technical choices, social hierarchies, economic structures, and political dynamics shaped the Soviet nuclear industry leading up to Chernobyl.

The Cambridge History of the Cold War

Author: Melvyn P. Leffler,Odd Arne Westad

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521837197

Category: History

Page: 643

View: 351

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This volume examines the origins and early years of the Cold War in the first comprehensive historical reexamination of the period. A team of leading scholars shows how the conflict evolved from the geopolitical, ideological, economic and sociopolitical environments of the two world wars and interwar period.

The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany

Author: David Blackbourn

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 1324000988

Category: History

Page: 480

View: 8292

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"Brilliantly conceived....[A] tour de force in historical writing."—Ian Kershaw Majestic and lyrically written, The Conquest of Nature traces the rise of Germany through the development of water and landscape. David Blackbourn begins his morality tale in the mid-1700s, with the epic story of Frederick the Great, who attempted—by importing the great scientific minds of the West and by harnessing the power of his army—to transform the uninhabitable marshlands of his scattered kingdom into a modern state. Chronicling the great engineering projects that reshaped the mighty Rhine, the emergence of an ambitious German navy, and the development of hydroelectric power to fuel Germany's convulsive industrial growth before World War I, Blackbourn goes on to show how Nazi racial policies rested on German ideas of mastery of the natural world. Filled with striking reproductions of paintings, maps, and photographs, this grand work of modern history links culture, politics, and the environment in an exploration of the perils faced by nations that attempt to conquer nature.

What Did the Internment of Japanese Americans Mean?

Author: Alice Yang Murray

Publisher: Macmillan

ISBN: 9780312208295

Category: History

Page: 163

View: 9867

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During World War II, over 120,000 Japanese Americans were removed and confined for four years in sixteen camps located throughout the western half of the United States. Yet the internment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps remains a largely unknown episode of World War II history. Indeed, many of the internees themselves do not wish to speak of it, even to their own family members. In these selections, Alice Yang Murray invites students to investigate this event and to review and challenge the conventional interpretations of its significance. The selections explore the U.S. government's role in planning and carrying out the removal and internment of thousands of citizens, resident aliens, and foreign nationals, and the ways in which Japanese Americans coped with or resisted their removal and incarceration.