The author does a good job with the Accident victims autobiographies, psychology, injuries, and burial preparations.
However his account of the Accident victim's rescue is insulting of the Rescue Team and inaccurate.
The insults include "nerdy engineers"(p.99), "bourbon and water downing bosses"(p.95) and individuals who were"forced to conduct a rescue operation even though they were unprepared"(p.95). In fact they were some of the most courageous, intelligent, experienced, innovative and caring individuals I have ever known. The 4-man rescue team was composed of the following individuals:
Paul Duckworth, the SL-1 Operations Supervisor, who may have been a WWII South-Pacific Campaign ship commander at age 19 and owned the powerful Model 88 Oldsmobile used to race the Rescue Team to the Accident site.
Sidney Cohen, the SL-1 Test supervisor, a WWII, 2nd-wave Normandy Invasion infantryman at age 17 and a "Life Master" bridge player.
William Rausch, the 28-year old SL-1 Assistant Operations Supervisor who had been a Merchant Marine ship engineer with experience in recovery of a fatal shipboard boiler room explosion.
Ed Vallario, the 33-year old SL-1 Health Physicist who was the first team member to be notifed of the post-Accident lethal radioctive conditions and missing operators because he was the designated technical contact for concerns of the SL-1 plant operators and NRTS security and firemen that evening.
William Gammill, the 32-year old, on-duty, AEC Site Survey Chief and a certified Health Physicist who volunteered to assist the rescue team
In 1962 all five men received medals and national recognition for "heriosm in saving human life" from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.
The author doesn't even include either Mr. Rausch or Mr. Gammill as Rescue Team members and only provides a complimentary autobiography for Mr. Vallario. Mr. Rausch may have received the greatest radiation dose because his assignment was to confirm the immobile victim, who was closest to the destroyed reactor vessel, was deceased and the only Rescue Team member to see a "bundle of rags" hanging from the reactor room ceiling which was determined by the next reactor room entry group to be the 3rd victim. The author credits Mr. Vallario with making "the recommendation to the other rescue team members to go into the reactor room to find the men regardless of the potentially lethal radiation conditions"(p.100) which doesn't make sense because he was not the senior member of the rescue team and there was no time for a group conference. In addition the author didn't interview the only surviving Rescue Team member, Mr. Rausch.
The Rescue Team members unflinchingly took on an unprecedented and impossible task which they voluntarily executed skillfully without hesitation in about an amazing 60 minutes. The rescue may have been more appropriately accomplished by a full complement of on-duty NRTS firemen, security men, and health physicists or the off-site military officers.
Some of the rescue event accounts in the story are inaccurate but of minor consequence compared to the Rescue Team insults.
This reviewer is a retired (1995) nuclear fuel projects manager with AEC, ERDA & DOE prime contractors including a junior engineer position at the SL-1 plant at the time of the Accident.