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Download Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Yellow Dirt: An American Story of a Poisoned Land and a People Betrayed, by Judy Pasternak Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (132 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Judy Pasternak Narrator: Laural Merlington Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the 1930s to the 1960s, the United States knowingly used and discarded an entire tribe of people. The Navajo worked unprotected in the uranium mines that fueled the Manhattan Project and the Cold War. Long after these mines were abandoned, Navajos in all four corners of the Reservation (which borders Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona) continued grazing their animals on sagebrush flats riddled with uranium that had been blasted from the ground. They drank contaminated water from old pits, which had filled with rain. They built their houses out of chunks of yellowcake, they inhaled radioactive dust borne aloft from the waste piles the mining companies had left behind, and their children played in the unsealed mines themselves. Ten years after the mines closed, the cancer rate on the reservation shot up and the babies began to be born with crooked fingers that fused together into claws as they grew. Scientists filed complaints about the situation with the government but were told it was a mess “too expensive” to clean up.

Few had heard this story until Judy Pasternak exposed it in a prizewinning Los Angeles Times series. Her work not only inspired this book, which is already a winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award, it also galvanized both a congressman and a famous prosecutor to clean the sites and get reparations for the tribe. Yellow Dirt powerfully chronicles both the scandal of neglect and the Navajo’s fight for justice.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Carol Hassett | 2/16/2014

    " It took me several months to read this book. Every time I reached the point where my heart was breaking I had to put it away for a bit. And unfortunately that happened a lot throughout this book. Judy Pasternak brought the reality of greed and corruption in our government and the corporate world to light. The pain and suffering they caused the Navaho Nation is unbelievable! My heart goes out to all the families affected by this betrayal. Amazing read! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Carol Chapman | 1/19/2014

    " Fascinating story, but rather poorly written. I've been to areas of Monument Valley, Grand Junction and the Navajo Reservation discussed in the book,so for that reason I found the book particularly interesting. And of course, the treatment of the Navajo by the US Gov't. makes me ill. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kathy | 1/3/2014

    " They story of what happened to the Navajo Nation is terrible. The investigative writing of the events was well done. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by FrankO | 11/22/2013

    " Eye-opening account of Native Americans being f**d over again. This time it's radioactive uranium tailings on the Navajo reservation. Well written, but reading it became tedious toward the end. "

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About the Author

Judy Pasternak is a writer who lives near Washington, DC. An award-winning reporter, she worked for the Los Angeles Times for twenty-four years, in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, tackling subjects as varied as al-Qaeda’s private airline, a band of right-wing bank robbers, backstage maneuvering at Dick Cheney’s energy task force, and the giant black hole at the center of the Milky Way. She has won numerous awards for environmental and investigative journalism. Previously, she worked at the Detroit Free Press and Baltimore News American. She is married, with one son.