On the Home Front


On the Home Front

The Cold War Legacy of the Hanford Nuclear Site, Third Edition

Michele Stenehjem Gerber
Introduction to the new Bison Books edition by John M. Findlay
With a new epilogue by the author

424 pages
18 photographs, 2 maps, notes, glossary, index


July 2007


$22.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

On the Home Front is the only comprehensive history of the Hanford Nuclear Site, America’s most productive and wasteful plutonium manufacturing facility. Located in southeastern Washington State, the Hanford Site produced the plutonium used in the atomic bombs that ended World War II. This book was made possible by the declassification in the 1980s of tens of thousands of government documents relating to the construction, operation, and maintenance of the site. The third edition contains a new introduction by John M. Findlay and a new epilogue by the author.

Author Bio

Michele Stenehjem Gerber works in the Public Information Office of Fluor Hanford, Inc. She has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Declassification and has served on the Hanford Reach National Monument Federal Advisory Committee and consulted for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
John M. Findlay is a professor of history at the University of Washington and the coeditor of Parallel Destinies: Canadians, Americans and the Western Border and The Atomic West.


On the Home Front [is] a work of history dispassionately told, thoroughly footnoted, the literary equivalent of a nuclear explosion.”—Michael E. Long, National Geographic

On the Home Front should be read by everyone concerned with public policy and the environmental issues that dominate this postmodern world.” —William L. Lang, Western Historical Quarterly

“[Gerber’s] skill in reconstructing the story of Hanford's environmental ravages has given us a book that can both alarm and instruct.” —Journal of American History

“A welcome contribution to the growing historiography of the Cold War. . . The questions raised by Gerber about the role of experts and of secrecy in a democracy will hopefully attract the serious attention they so earnestly deserve.”—American Historical Review

Table of Contents

Introduction to the New Bison Books Edition
List of Maps and Illustrations
Introduction: The Legacy
1. Beginnings: The Land and the Place
2. Building the Plants: Nuts, Bolts, and Chaos
3. "Tell 'Em You're from Richland": Regional Growth in the Columbia Basin
4. Blowing in the Wind: The Airborne Contaminants
5. "Hail Columbia": The River-borne Contaminants
6. Laying Waste to the Soil: The Groundwater Contaminants
7. Radiobiology: The Learning Curve
8. Truth and Rebirth
Epilogue: Richland, Washington: September 2006
Glossary of Technical or Specialized Terms, Acronyms, and Abbreviations

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