THE PLUTONIUM FILES

AMERICA'S SECRET MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS IN THE COLD WAR

A fierce exposÇ of governmental duplicity and dangerous science. A decade ago Welsome, a reporter for the Albuquerque Tribune, happened upon a reference in an air force report to a nuclear waste pile that contained the carcasses of several animals that had been used in testing the effects of radiation. The report hinted that animals were not the only subjects. Intrigued, Welsome began to sift through a mountain of official documents, discovering that, from 1945 to 1947, 18 unsuspecting civilians——men, women, and even children scattered in quiet hospital wards across the country——had been injected with plutonium to test the effects of radioactive materials on the human body. Such testing formed part of a federal program that employed, in the words of a government film narrator, “every angle and every gadget we can to find out what really happens when an atomic bomb kicks out fiercely at the world around it.” In a tour de force of investigative reporting, Welsome tracked down some of these subjects; and she weaves their stories into a larger narrative, one that tells the story of US government Cold War medical experimentation as a whole. Much of this testing, it appears, was unnecessary—after all, the government had thousands of preexisting subjects, the Japanese victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some of it, Welsome suggests, was done at the behest of US atomic scientists at Los Alamos, N.M., who were worried about their own health. Those physicists, as scientist Arthur Compton wrote, “knew what had happened to the early experimenters with radioactive materials. Not many of them had lived very long.” Neither did many of those 18 victims, and neither did thousands of soldiers and civilians exposed to atomic-bomb blasts in the deserts of the Southwest, all in the name of delivering the world from Communism. The literature on the official crimes of the Cold War era is large and growing. Welsome’s stunning book adds much to that literature, and it makes for sobering reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 1999

ISBN: 0-385-31402-7

Page Count: 576

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

Did you like this book?

IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more