Into the Forbidden Zone

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 05 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 05 June, 2011, 12:00am


Into the Forbidden Zone
by William T. Vollmann
Byliner Original (e-book)

Two weeks after the recent earthquake/tsunami disasters in Japan, William Vollmann bought a radiation- measuring device through his dentist in California and took off for the Forbidden Zone in Tohoku, the evacuated area around the Fukushima nuclear reactors. He travelled with this piece of equipment (called a dosimeter), aware that Japanese authorities were messing up readings. His reason for visiting Japan was to interview individuals and officials about their experiences and to learn whether the disasters had changed public opinion of nuclear energy. What he discovered was an 'absurd degree of trust' in Japanese officials and a lack of knowledge that others might find strange in the only country to have been the victim of atomic bombings. Vollmann deserves praise for his reporting, although readers might tire of how he repeats the same questions to interviewees. Inserting his own views - he is opposed to nuclear power - works well to balance the often tepid responses of a people who should be angry.

Extras: none