The Orphaned Land
V.B. Price, photos by Nell Farrell
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Buy *The Orphaned Land: New Mexico's Environment Since the Manhattan Project* by V.B. Price and Nell Farrell online

The Orphaned Land: New Mexico's Environment Since the Manhattan Project
V.B. Price, photographs by Nell Farrell
University of New Mexico Press
332 pages
November 2011
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Award-winning Albuquerque journalist V. B. Price has written an insightful and highly informative study of New Mexico's environment in the aftermath of the Manhattan Project. Painstakingly researched and extremely well informed, The Orphaned Land chronicles the plight of a state rich in resources but sparsely populated, and forever caught between political and commercial interests.

Though the author openly takes the "habitat" side of the "habitat or commodity" environmental debate, Price attempts to bypass the hyperbole and misinformation that often mars our environmental discourse. He draws from research and reporting done by scientists and journalists with an intimate knowledge of the state's ecology and a track record of getting things right. Price takes the reader on a guided tour through 60 years of munitions testing, radioactive emissions and hazardous waste dumping, and the effects that such human endeavors have had on the quality of land, water and air in the Land of Enchantment.

The author doesn't only delineate what has happened but why it has happened, and the frustratingly slow change that can be effected by the electorate in a state where nearly half the land is owned or controlled by the government or commercial interests. Finally, the author posits New Mexico as a microcosm of global ecological degradation. While acknowledging the harsh realities, Price recognizes the opportunity that lies ahead for the people of New Mexico as an agent for change for the entire world.

V. B. Price has provided a thoroughly researched and informed documentation of the environmental history of New Mexico that will be enjoyed by anyone well versed in the history of New Mexico or the environmental movement, but which is readable enough for anyone new to either.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Joseph Lee Scott, 2012

buy *The Orphaned Land: New Mexico's Environment Since the Manhattan Project* online
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