Nuclear families, Atomic Cities and


"Turning up a surprising amount of hitherto hidden material and talkative survivors, Brown writes a vivid, often hair-raising history of the great plutonium factories and the privileged cities built around them... Readers will squirm to learn of the high radiation levels workers routinely experienced and the casualness with which wastes poured into the local air, land and rivers... An angry but fascinating account of negligence, incompetence and injustice justified (as it still is) in the name of national security." –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An unflinching and chilling account." –Seattle Times

"Harrowing... Meticulously researched... Plutopia has important messages for those managing today's nuclear facilities, arguing for caution and transparency." —Nature Read full review

"One of the Cold War's more striking perversities never made it to public view. ... Brown is a good writer, and she describes with precision the construction of the two sites (a difficult process in the U.S. case, an unbelievably horrid one in the Russian case), the hazardous occupations undertaken by their inhabitants, and the consciously contrived bubbles of socioeconomic inequality both places became." —Foreign Affairs

"Brown's account is unique, partisan and occasionally personal in that she includes some of her thoughts about interviews she conducted... But because she is open and thorough about her sources, those are strengths to be celebrated, not weaknesses to be deplored. It also means her book is engaging, honest and, in the end, entirely credible."
—New Scientist Read full review

"Kate Brown has written a provocative and original study of two cities— one American, one Soviet—at the center of their countries' nuclear weapons complexes. The striking parallels she finds between them help us —impel us—to see the Cold War in a new light. Plutopia will be much discussed. It is a fascinating and important book."
—David Holloway, author of Stalin and the Bomb

"Kate Brown has produced a novel and arresting account of the consequences of Cold War Nuclear policies on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Interweaving documentary research in government archives, reviews and revisions of the public record, and a host of personal interviews with the citizens—perpetrators, victims, and witnesses—Brown's Plutopia makes a lasting contribution to the continuing chronicle of the human and environmental disasters of the atomic age."
—Peter Bacon Hales, author of Atomic Spaces: Living on the Manhattan Project

Italian Press Review

Italian Press Review Part 2