The Angry Genie: One Man's Walk Through the Nuclear Age
Karl Ziegler Morgan
Ken M. Peterson
Retail Price: $24.95
Format: Hardcover, 218pp.
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Pub. Date: May 1999
This Book was reviewed by: The Publisher, Booknews and Publisher's Weekly
From The Publisher:
Karl Z. Morgan was a physicist at the Manhattan Project and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he was director of health physics from the late 1940s until his retirement in 1972. He collaborated with leading trial lawyer Ken M. Peterson to write this extraordinary memoir about the dawn of the nuclear age and the moral dilemmas associated with nuclear energy.
A deeply humane and religious scientist, Morgan regards his own role in meeting the challenges presented by the "angry genie" of nuclear energy with the same unblinking eye he focuses on government, the military, and the nuclear industry. He tells harrowing tales of radiation accidents and near-disasters, and shows the actual and potential consequences of the clumsiness, recklessness, and carelessness of fallible human beings.
Morgan, formerly director of health physics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, offers an extraordinary memoir about the dawn of the nuclear age and the moral dilemmas associated with nuclear energy. He tells harrowing tales of radiation experiments and accidents and shows their actual and potential consequences, regarding his own role in the nuclear energy industry with the same unblinking eye he focuses on government, the military, and the nuclear industry. He also describes his participation in two of the most significant radiation law suits of the century. Includes b&w photos and appendices of documents. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From Publisher's Weekly:
Morgan, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, FDR's secret wartime effort to develop the atomic bomb, is today an outspoken critic of what he sees as the nuclear power industry's willful blindness, greed and hazardous nature. His plainspoken autobiography, written with trial lawyer Peterson, opens with an account of his Manhattan Project work, first at the University of Chicago and then at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where, as director of the health physics division for three decades, Morgan sought ways to protect workers from radiation exposure. With hindsight, Morgan laments his "pitifully limited" wartime awareness of the true risks of radiation, citing recent studies that suggest the nuclear industry's "acceptable" levels of airborne emissions and its contamination of waterways with radioactive wastes have greatly increased the incidence of cancer, cataracts and genetic mutation. He includes a chilling summary of horrifying radiation experiments conducted by the U.S. government, including downwind studies that rained thyroid cancer-inducing radiation upon "expendable" Native Americans. Morgan blasts the nuclear power industry as plagued by endless repairs, shutdowns, high occupational exposure to radiation, a seemingly insoluble waste disposal problem and reactors bedeviled by flawed features. He also warns that the appallingly lax security conditions of Russia's nuclear weapons facilities make them easy targets for terrorist attacks and inside jobs--and he urges the U.S. or a consortium of peacekeeping nations to buy Russia's nuclear arsenal. This personal testament is a beacon in a sea of inertia, recklessness and misinformation. 56 b&w illustrations. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.