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Fallout
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This book discusses nuclear testing in Nevada in the 1950s and its effect on off-site civilians in the surrounding region. The framework is a trial, begun in 1982 and ended ignominously in 1988 with a pro-government verdict. The plaintiffs were cancer victims and surviving relatives interested in protecting future generations ``by establishing harm as a fact,'' but the book is less about the nuclear testing-cancer connection than about government's betrayal of its citizens. The author, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, observed the trial, interviewed 150 persons, and did research in numerous libraries. A local university official quoted here ranks studies in this area of highest importance in terms ``of how we're going to live with ourselves and our civilization over the next century.'' Highly recommended.-- Diane M. Brown, Univ. of California Lib., Berkeley

What Fradkin ( California: The Gold Coast , etc.) terms ``ultimate'' fallout refers not to the death or injuries suffered by radiation victims in the Southwest from the 1950s nuclear tests, but to the betrayal of these citizens by government, from local monitors to presidents and Supreme Court justices operating behind the screen of national security. This well-re searched expose attests to the negligence, ignorance and corruption of authorities, and violation of the Nuclear Test Ban treaty. Starting with the initial 1978 suit by fallout victims against the Department of Energy, the author relentlessly traces futile legal actions which culminated in the reversal by the appellate courts of a 1984 award for damages to 10 claimants. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear an appeal supports his contention that the judiciary consistently upheld the government's policy of denial, placing national security above human health. (Mar.)

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