Boston science-journalist Shulman hammers away at the US military establishment's abysmal handling of deadly waste—an extensively researched exposÇ certain to enlighten and frighten all who have the Armed Forces or the Department of Energy as neighbors. By studying specific circumstances and sites across the country, Shulman brings home the vast, multifaceted extent of the crisis: Within the Rocky Mountain Arsenal outside of Denver, for example, he saw, in 1988, ``Basin F''—a glowing, unlined lake of toxic sludge; the next year, in central California, a barn was found filled from floor to ceiling with abandoned, leaking drums of toxic and explosive materials that were traced back to the military; today, on the Hanford Reservation in central Washington State, lies a ``burial garden'' of leaking underground tanks filled with high-level radioactive waste in which explosive gases are building. Such horror stories seem endless, with 25,000 toxic military sites now suspected nationwide, not including land no longer under Pentagon jurisdiction. The halting, redundant, hugely expensive, and largely ineffective steps in recent years by Army, Navy, and Air Force officials to begin a cleanup, and their long- standing resistance to warning those citizens most at risk, receive full consideration here, with the ultimate message being that, while evidence of improvement exists, current efforts, coming after decades of indiscriminate dumping, won't stop the spreading plumes of toxic contaminants from reaching aquifers and local wells. An activist's handbook complete with legal appendices and lists of waste sites, but much, much more: This is a clear and concise condemnation of practices and attitudes in the last bastion of unregulated environmental destruction in America.
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