Killing Our Own is the 1982
documentary book written by Harvey Wasserman and Norman Solomon along with Robert Alvarez and Eleanor Walters. The book covers the subject of radiation, and how the United States government covered up the ill effects of its nuclear program for half a century, at the expense of the countless thousands who died of radiation-caused cancer.
The book begins with Hiroshima
(the two cities devastated by nuclear weapons), specifically United States Marines
that were stationed in Nagasaki immediately after the end of World War Two
to record the weapon's damage. The troops drew water from Nagasaki's water supply, which unknown to them, had radioactive particles of Strontium-90
, and other fission products. The particles were ingested, became lodged within their bodies, and continued to pour radiation into surrounding cells until cancers were created and the men died (some within only 10 years).
Then there were the weapon tests that involved live participants. The Army routinely between 1946 and 1962 marched troop units to within miles of detonation sites. The belief then was that sufficient precautions were being taken. Even though active radiation had died down, the military had not taken into account radiactive particles, which were inhaled and assimilated by the human guinea pigs.
Killing Their Own details how the cancer, leukemia, and other terrible diseases afflicted what the authors dub America's 'nuclear veterans' at a massively higher rate than the normal population. Also featured is how most nuclear veterans did not receive any special compensation from military organizations or the government with which to fight their cancers (because giving them money would be admitting the government was at fault). What the whole book is centered around is the denials of government and corporation alike as to the dangers of nuclear power, medical x-rays, nuclear tests, how people and animals actually died at Three Mile Island and other nuclear disasters, and much more.
The book is both fascinating and grim. It strongly criticizes the U.S. government for perpetuating the so-called 'atomic honeymoon' of the late 1940s and early 1950s, in which nuclear weapons and power were considered a good thing, before the dangers became known.
The book is still valid today, because much of the historical information has not changed, nor have the properties of nuclear materials and weapons changed. The book goes into great details as to the specific medical effects of radiation and ingesting radioactive materials, as well as a summary of all nuclear weapon tests in the appendixes.
The book can be viewed at http://www.ratical.org/radiation/KillingOurOwn/