Book Cover Full Body BurdenFor Collin College’s annual Book-in-Common selection, author Kristen Iversen will speak about her story of a community contaminated by nuclear damage.

Her book, Full Body Burden: Growing up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, documents a childhood spent in a Colorado small town next to a “factory” called Rocky Flats that secretly leaked contaminants and plutonium.

“Rocky Flats was the big secret of my childhood,” Iversen said. “Even when I worked at the plant myself as a young woman, like many workers I was unaware of the dangers. It was a huge wake-up call for my family and me. And it was a frightening feeling to know you’re being seriously affected by something you have no control over.”

Book-in-Common coordinator and Collin College English professor Betty Bettacchi said Iversen’s story of persistence and determination made the book enthralling.

“The Book-in-Common committee found Full Body Burden to be a captivating story which was also well written,” Bettacchi said. “It is both a book about nuclear weapons and the culture of secrecy.”

Iversen’s search for truth led her down a long and difficult path, resulting in working on the book for more than 10 years.

She explains in the book how she lived near a nuclear facility that she claims leaked contaminants, resulting in many having cancer and other illnesses.

Bettacchi said Iversen is a perfect example of not giving up. .

Full Body Burden shows students that they need to critically question situations which arise and not blindly accept given explanations,” Bettacchi explained. “A single voice can be important in righting a wrong.”

Iversen will visit Collin College March 4-6 where she will discuss and sign copies of her book. All events are free and open to the public. Visit for more information.


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