Downwind: A People's History of the Nuclear West by Sarah Alisabeth Fox

By Sarah Alisabeth Fox

Downwind is an unflinching story of the atomic West that finds the intentional overlook for human and animal lifestyles via nuclear trying out through the government and uranium extraction via mining companies in the course of and after the chilly War.


Sarah Alisabeth Fox highlights the non-public expense of nuclear checking out and uranium extraction within the American West via huge interviews with “downwinders,” the local American and non-Native citizens of the good Basin sector laid low with nuclear environmental infection and nuclear-testing fallout. those downwinders inform stories of groups ravaged by means of melanoma epidemics, farmers and ranchers economically ruined through giant crop and animal deaths, and local miners operating in risky stipulations with out right protection gear in order that the govt may well surreptitiously learn the results of radiation on humans.

In chilling element Downwind brings to mild the tales and matters of those teams whose voices were silenced and marginalized for many years within the identify of “patriotism” and “national security.”

With the renewed increase in mining within the American West, Fox’s examine this hidden historical past, unearthed from years of box interviews, archival learn, and epidemiological experiences, is a must-read for each American occupied with the destiny of our western lands and communities.

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Additional resources for Downwind: A People's History of the Nuclear West

Sample text

Yellowhorse continued, “Dig wells, you drank the same water. They just dumped the waste into the washes, they flow down, that way everything was exposed, animals as well. This is what I think. ”³⁵ Decades later, researchers continue to confirm persistent radioactive contamination of local water supplies in the American Southwest. A 1999 report found that despite clean-up efforts, “ground water contamination continues at most” of the uranium sites studied, “including three of the four sites on the Navajo Reservation and the Falls City, Texas site.

LIVING UNDER THE CLOUD 19 {2} UNEARTHING YELLOW MONSTERS We would find these [yellow veins of mineral] like you found big dead snakes, because you could see where the head was and the tail was. . We would look at it and wonder what it was. We would say it must have been the ancient monster snakes from the beginning of time. George Tutt, Shiprock, New Mexico The place where a story begins relies entirely on the perspective of the storyteller. America’s nuclear arms race is a story of many such perspectives.

He helped load ground ore into a tank, where it was mixed with sulfuric acid and water and heated to facilitate the extraction of uranium.  .  . ” Other dangers plagued workers, and James recalled one instance when the sulfuric acid mixture “splashed out and I burned my face. They were small splash-spot burns, and it turned into pus, leaving scars after it healed. ” James also described how the acid wore away the rubber coating on the propellers used to agitate the mixture in the tanks: “When the rubber coat wears off, then the metal becomes bare.

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