- About the Book
Full Body Burden is Kristen Iversen's story of growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant. It's also a book about the destructive power of secretsboth family secrets and government secrets. Her father's hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about whatthey made at Rocky Flatsbest not to inquire too deeply into any of it. But as Iversen grew older, she began to ask questions and discovered some disturbing realities. As this memoir unfolds, it reveals itself as a brilliant work of investigative journalisma 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.Now with Extra Libris material, including a readers guide and bonus content
Full Body Burden is a simmering and sickening book that runs on two downward sloping tracks.... For a while you think these two narratives won't quite come together. But they do, in powerful ways.... Full Body Burden the title refers to the amount of radioactive material at any time in a human body becomes a potent examination of the dangers of secrecy.
—New York Times
—New York Times
Iversen, now a director of the MFA creative writing program at the University of Memphis, writes her 50-year account in the present tense, a choice that lends her narrative a crackling immediacy. She writes with an eloquent precision, surprises frequently with personal anecdotes and abrupt, savory transitions. The result is fiercely non-polemical, nuanced and ultimately fully convincing.... Iversen has left us a beautiful memoir that recognizes the inevitable intrusion of greater social forces in all our lives and the risk we take in ignoring them.
"Full Body Burden" has an astounding story to tell, and for the most part, Iversen tells it well.... "Full Body Burden" reports on one of the most dangerous eras in our nation's history. It's told with the pacing of a thriller, with occasional longueurs of personal struggles and disappointments, but it is well-researched, well-documented and well-referenced. At a time when fewer and fewer resources are dedicated to the well-made book, "Full Body Burden" is one. It should be widely read.