WilmU Book Club

July 2019  |  Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats

Tuesday, July 23, 2019  |  12:30 PM

Pratt Student Center, New Castle Campus

RSVP to reserve your spot today!

Please join the WilmU Book Club for a discussion on Kristen Iversen's book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats.

Students, Staff and Faculty members can borrow a copy of the book from the Delaware Library Catalog
. Click on 'Place Hold' to have the book sent to the Wilmington University Library in New Castle.

Can't make it in person? Attend online!

full body burden book cover


Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman, Kristen Iversen, growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant once designated “the most contaminated site in America.” It’s the story of a childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once startlingly beautiful and—unknown to those who lived there—tainted with invisible yet deadly particles of plutonium.

It’s also a book about the destructive power of secrets—both family and government. Her father’s hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what was made at Rocky Flats (cleaning supplies, her mother guessed)—best not to inquire too deeply into any of it.


Kristen Iversen grew up in Colorado and attended the University of Colorado at Boulder (BA) and the University of Denver (PhD). Her work includes the books Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats (selected by universities across the country for their First Year Experience/Common Read programs); Molly Brown: Unraveling the Myth; and Shadow Boxing: Art and Craft in Creative Nonfiction. Essays and stories have appeared in The New York TimesThe NationThe American ScholarReader’s Digest, Fourth Genre, Beloit Fiction Journal, and others. Currently Iversen is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati, where she is a fellow at the Taft Humanities Center and also serves as Literary Nonfiction editor of The Cincinnati Review.