Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters


While many transnational histories of the nuclear arms race have been written, Kate Brown provides the first definitive account of the great plutonium disasters of the United States and the Soviet Union.

In Plutopia, Brown draws on official records and dozens of interviews to tell the extraordinary stories of Richland, Washington and Ozersk, Russia-the first two cities in the world to produce plutonium. To contain secrets, American and Soviet leaders created plutopias–communities of nuc

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  1. 24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A very important book, July 24, 2013
    By 
    Rover (Seattle, WA USA) –

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    I have worked on Hanford issues for 25 years, helping whistleblowers, sick workers, and trying to influence the cleanup to go in a productive direction. I have also been to many of the former Soviet nuclear sites, including Mayak on five different occasions. Kate Brown’s book captures not only the history, the stories, and realities, but poses some interesting and insightful perspectives on the two cities and bomb factories. She has pulled together a huge amount of information and distilled it into a readable, interesting book which all of us who live in the nuclear age should read.
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  2. Mitchell I. Bonner says:
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Who can make a bigger Plutonium disaster mess in their country?, October 2, 2016
    By 
    Mitchell I. Bonner (San Francisco, CA USA) –

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    This review is from: Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Paperback)
    Both the United States and the Soviet Union built Plutonium manufacturing plants and their supporting cities. This book talks about the building of these plants, the elite way of life of the scientists and technicians that lived in these cities compared to their other country men, the nuclear accidents and disasters that contaminated the surrounding countrysides, and the long term adverse effects still taking place today.
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  3. travelin'man says:
    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Well-researched and written, February 16, 2014
    By 
    travelin’man (Wisconsin, USA) –

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    Kate Brown has done the almost impossible, using vast files of information long classified in America and the former USSR to plumb the depths of the secrecy and the cover-ups involved in the pursuit of plutonium for weapons production. While some Americans as well as Russians dispute the accidents and cover-ups, one can only surmise that they were so patriotically blinded by their participation as to deny anything which besmirched their remembrances of the programs and their lives in the secret cities. Some of the evidence, to be sure, is anecdotal, however Brown has managed to document her assertions and is to be commended as a brave historian for attacking an investigation into a part of history that many would wish to remain unknown. Having spent a good part of the past 20 years traveling in Russia and seeing the fear of contemporary Russians that the walls still “have ears” demonstrates the degree of difficulty Brown must have had to gain the confidence of people there in telling this story, not to mention similar challenges in the U.S., particularly among people still residing in and near Hanford.
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