First Person Radio-Sep 7: JUDY PASTERNAK: Yellow Dirt Author -Audio Below

On-air date: 
Wed, 09/07/2011

From Judy Pasternak's Website:

A craggy mesa once housed Monument No. 2, the hottest, richest, most productive uranium mine in the Navajo homeland, in a remote desert near the Arizona-Utah line. To the families who have dwelled for generations in the spring-fed valley below, the mesa is the wounded center of their world. They and the hundreds of Indians who labored at the mine have been forever changed by the government’s desperate press for more nuclear weapons than any other nation on Earth.

Yellow Dirt is their story.

It is the saga of four generations whose lives have been shaped by uranium.
What happened at Monument No. 2 was repeated in communities across the reservation. Despite warnings from doctors and scientists that long-term exposure could be harmful, even fatal, thousands of miners worked unprotected. Long after the uranium boom ended, the neighbors continued to live with contamination. The radioactive “yellow dirt” ended up in their drinking supplies, in their walls and floors, in their playgrounds, their bread ovens, their churches and even their garbage dumps.

Few knew what had happened until Judy Pasternak wrote a prizewinning Los Angeles Times series that galvanized a powerful Congressman and a famous prosecutor to press for redress and repair of the grievous damage.

In Yellow Dirt, Pasternak provides gripping new details. She introduces the family of Adakai the Gambler, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, whose fates were intertwined with that of Monument No. 2 and with decisions made without their knowledge in distant capitals and labs. She weaves the personal and the political into a chronicle of betrayal, of willful negligence, and ultimately, of reckoning.

Join us on September 7th as First Person Radio's Laura Waterman Wittstock with Andy Driscoll talk with award winning author Judy Pasternak about her stunning book: Yellow Dirt. The book examines in depth the effects of uranium mining on the Dine (Navajo) lands, looking closely at what happened to several families who built houses using contaminated materials and drank from water poisoned with uranium. The book is a must read for everyone in Indian Country and those concerned about Indian lands and rights.

Judy Pasternak is an editor with Bloomberg News in Washington and a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, where she wrote about subjects ranging from a band of right-wing extremist bank robbers to the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way.Yellow Dirt, her first book, made two "Best of 2010" lists: Publisher's Weekly and the Christian Science Monitor. The book has also won awards for literary non-fiction, investigative journalism and environmental journalism. She is married, with one son.
On-air guests: 

JUDY PASTERNAK – Author, Yellow Dirt; Writer, Bloomberg News