Atomic Frontier Days: Hanford and the American West

Paperback | May 18, 2011

byJohn M. Findlay, Bruce W. Hevly

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Outstanding Title by Choice Magazine

On the banks of the Pacific Northwest's greatest river lies the Hanford nuclear reservation, an industrial site that appears to be at odds with the surrounding vineyards and desert. The 586-square-mile compound on the Columbia River is known both for its origins as part of the Manhattan Project, which made the first atomic bombs, and for the monumental effort now under way to clean up forty-five years of waste from manufacturing plutonium for nuclear weapons. Hanford routinely makes the news, as scientists, litigants, administrators, and politicians argue over its past and its future.

It is easy to think about Hanford as an expression of federal power, a place apart from humanity and nature, but that view distorts its history. Atomic Frontier Days looks through a wider lens, telling a complex story of production, community building, politics, and environmental sensibilities. In brilliantly structured parallel stories, the authors bridge the divisions that accompany Hanford's headlines and offer perspective on today's controversies. Influenced as much by regional culture, economics, and politics as by war, diplomacy, and environmentalism, Hanford and the Tri-Cities of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick illuminate the history of the modern American West.

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Outstanding Title by Choice MagazineOn the banks of the Pacific Northwest's greatest river lies the Hanford nuclear reservation, an industrial site that appears to be at odds with the surrounding vineyards and desert. The 586-square-mile compound on the Columbia River is known both for its origins as part of the Manhattan Project, whic...

John M. Findlay is professor of history at the University of Washington. His focus is social and urban history. Bruce Hevly is associate professor of history at the University of Washington. His focus is history of science and technology.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6.07 × 0.95 inPublished:May 18, 2011Publisher:University of Washington Press and Autry National Center of the American WestLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029599097X

ISBN - 13:9780295990972

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Table of Contents

OnePlutonium, Production, and PollutionHanford's Career as Federal Enclave

TwoThe Atomic City of the WestRichland and the Tri-Cities

ThreeThe Politics of HanfordWarfare and Welfare

FourHanford and the Columbia River BasinEconomy and Ecology

EpilogueAppendix 1Appendix 2Appendix 3Appendix 4Note on SourcesAbbreviations Used in NotesNotesBibliographic EssayIndex

Editorial Reviews

Outstanding Title by Choice MagazineOn the banks of the Pacific Northwest's greatest river lies the Hanford nuclear reservation, an industrial site that appears to be at odds with the surrounding vineyards and desert. The 586-square-mile compound on the Columbia River is known both for its origins as part of the Manhattan Project, which made the first atomic bombs, and for the monumental effort now under way to clean up forty-five years of waste from manufacturing plutonium for nuclear weapons. Hanford routinely makes the news, as scientists, litigants, administrators, and politicians argue over its past and its future.It is easy to think about Hanford as an expression of federal power, a place apart from humanity and nature, but that view distorts its history. Atomic Frontier Days looks through a wider lens, telling a complex story of production, community building, politics, and environmental sensibilities. In brilliantly structured parallel stories, the authors bridge the divisions that accompany Hanford's headlines and offer perspective on today's controversies. Influenced as much by regional culture, economics, and politics as by war, diplomacy, and environmentalism, Hanford and the Tri-Cities of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick illuminate the history of the modern American West.Professors Findlay and Hevly have written an important and compelling book. It is a must-read for anyone interested in and concerned about this nation's nuclear legacy, with many lessons applicable to future uses of nuclear energy. - Keith Benson, University of British Columbia