Capturing for posterity the vanishing world of uranium mining, this candid memoir recounts the author’s adventures and misadventures working underground in 1970s New Mexico, “The Uranium Capital of the World.” Detailed descriptions of the tools, methods and hazards of uranium mining, along with character sketches and entertaining anecdotes, provide a colorful glimpse of a bygone way of life—drilling, blasting and mucking the sandstone of the Grants mineral belt in the San Juan Basin.
Underground and Radioactive employs a self-deprecating brand of humor, which is at times pretty hilarious, but there is also a seriousness to the book. The idea that the life lessons learned were as important as any practical skills acquired comes through strongly, as does the respect, even reverence, conveyed for honest, hard work.
Most readers will notice, that even though these people and experiences could hardly be further removed from their own, the strong thread of humanity woven through this book gives it real resonance.
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Roger D. Saunders is a former uranium miner and retired economist living in Albuquerque, New Mexico