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BOOKS AND THE CULTURE The Suicidal Civilization AS THE SHADOWS of Chernobyl continue to.. lengthen, Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation,, should be required ‘reading for every nuclear power or-power-tobe in the world. Not just . for those leaders who have knowingly taken us into this long and lethal nuclear nightmare, but for the people, too, in the hope that, as Albert Einstein wrote in 1947, “an informed citizenry will act for life and not death.” This book brings together in one volume the history and disaster of this Atomic Age from its beginnings when the first bombs were exploded over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending a long and brutal war and causing jubilation across the country \(but causing, also, more than one Los Angeles scientist to walk “cold sober into the dark of that deadly legacy at Three-Mile-Island the most tragic product. until Chernobyl of the stupidity of using a nuclear bomb to boil. water. As frightening as the book’s revelations are, fright quickly turns to anger as you realize that most, if not all, of the information in Killing Our Own, compiled after years of investigative research and interviews with radiation victims or their survivors, has been known or been available for decades to our own political leaders and other proponents of nuclear power. They have chosen to cover up the message a cover-up well documented in this book that radiation from our 40-year commitment to all things nuclear is killing us. Not only have they covered up the message, the political, scientific, and corporate proponents of nuclear power have also tried to silence the messengers, whose names range from Betty Brink writes on nuclear matters for the Observer. Killing Our Own can be ordered by writing: Harvey Wasserman, Box 23310, Columbus, Ohio 43223. The price is $12.95. Nobel laureates such as Linus Pauling and Andrei Sakharov to those of the victims themselves or their survivors, whose courageous stories are documented in this book, many for the first time. HOW DID WE get from Hiroshima to Three-Mile-Island, and now to Chernobyl? It’s all here, for this is not just a book about radiation and its victims. It is a history KILLING OUR OWN: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation By Harvey Wasserman and Norman Solomon with Robert Alvarez & Eleanor Walters Delta/Delacorte, New York, 1982 368 pages, $12.95 of the politics of the Cold War, the arms race with the Soviet Union, the selling of the “peaceful atom” to a reluctant industry \(seduced through massive subwith the help of an unquestioning mass media and the approval, by default, of an uninformed public. It is the story of the muzzling and character assassination of prominent anti-bomb scientists of the 1950s, when there was still time to change direction, and the suppression of early independent research showing the real health hazards to which Americans were being exposed by nuclear fallout suppression by the Atomic Energy clear Regulatory Commission, as well as the U.S. Public Health Service. When the AEC’s own research began to confirm ‘independent data, then those findings, too, were suppressed and the researchers forced out. While the AEC was able to keep much of its data secret for years, scientists such as Drs. Thomas Mancuso, John Gofman, and Arthur Tamplin did manage to publish damaging information, which resulted in their losing research grants and jobs. Mancuso’s findings were the first embarrassment to the AEC, which had hired him to refute claims that workers in AEC facilities were being exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. Mancuso found instead that nuclear workers at Hanford, Washington, suffered five percent to seven percent excess radiation cancer deaths at exposure levels as much as 30 times below that which had been considered safe by the AEC. When Mancuso refused to suppress his own data, the AEC tried, failed, and finally cut off his research funds. John Gofman and Arthur Tamplin suffered the same fate when Gofman was director of the AEC’s radiation health program, assisted by Tamplin. They found that radioactive “leakage” from normally operating nuclear power plants, a problem considered “nonexistent” by the industry, could “in fact kill large numbers of people” and would, in time, cause “an excess of 32,000 cases of fatal cancer plus leukemia per year . . . occurring year after year.” Both resigned after suffering budget cuts, harassment, and censorship. There were others. Alice Stewart, Karl Z. Morgan, Rosalie Bertell, Irwin Bross; and Ernest Sternglass were health scientists who, in other times, would have been considered the cream of the crop. When their findings showed that humans, animals, and the environment were being irreparably damaged by the effects of radiation from the entire nuclear fuel cycle, i.e., dangerous levelg of plutonium, strontium-90, cesium137, iodine-131, cobalt, and radon, among the most lethal, they were forced out of the industry. Their stories and their findings are documented in Killing Our Own and are chilling because they focus on the most susceptible in our society ‘our children, those already born and those in utero. Sternglass, who later documented infant deaths following the accident at Three-Mile-Island, said in 1969 that “some 375,000 American infants had died as a result of the atomic bomb testing.” And we learn that eleven years earlier, in 1958, Linus Pauling had predicted that 140,000 people would die from each and every bomb testa He wrote that a single fallout product, radioactive carbon-14, could cause “425,000 neonatal and embryonic deaths, 170,000 stillbirths and childhood deaths and result in another 55,000 By Betty Brink THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19