Saturday, March 25, 2017

What happened to "A Second Perspective" at All The Wonders?

Eds. note, 3/30/17: Please see updates to this post, including Matthew Winner's explanation.

First, a brief overview of what happened to my "Second Perspective" post at the All the Wonders website (more on who they are, later):

  • On Wednesday (March 22, 2017), I reviewed The Secret Project by Jonah and Jeanette Winters.
  • On Thursday morning (March 23, 2017), my review was added (with my permission) to the All the Wonders page about that book, as "A Second Perspective."
  • On Thursday evening (March 23, 2017), my review was gone.

Now, the details. 


On March 22, I wrote my review of The Secret Project, loaded it to AICL, and posted a link to the review on Facebook and Twitter. Then I looked on Twitter to see if others had reviewed it. If someone I know has reviewed a book I've also reviewed, I'll generally ask them to take a look at my review. Donalyn Miller and Jillian Heise added links to my review to their reviews on Goodreads.

I saw that The Secret Project was featured at All the Wonders. I read their interview with Jonah Winters (the author), and agree with what he said about propaganda. I felt then (and still do) that some changes to the book would make it outstanding. I wanted to listen to the podcast and read the interview with the illustrator, but had other things to do at that moment. Because I know All the Wonders is widely read by teachers and librarians, I asked them if they could add my review so that they could use information I share when they teach or read the book.


They said yes. On Thursday morning, my review was on their site as "A Second Perspective." I went back to my review and added a link to their site (and a screen cap of their introduction to my review). They wrote:
Here at All the Wonders, we strive to represent diversity and inclusion in the books we share. Debbie Reese, co-founder of American Indians in Children's Literature drew our attention to a recent review of The Secret Project she wrote where she discusses concerns over how Native Americans were represented in the story and illustrations. Specifically, the depiction of the Los Alamos Ranch School as isolated from other inhabitants to the region -- which it was not -- and the use of the phrase "nobody knows they are there" in reference to the scientists working on the bomb, which marginalizes the presence of the Native people living there. 
The story told in The Secret Project through words and illustrations is powerful, but in order to understand and appreciate more fully the context in which the even happened, it is important for readers to be aware of the Native people in and of the surrounding area.
Then, I went back to All the Wonders to read the interview with the illustrator, but it was gone. A little bit later, the interview with the author was gone, too. Why were they gone?

On Thursday night, I had an email from Matthew saying they had made a difficult decision to remove my review.

That night on Twitter, Sam Bloom of Reading While White, asked Matthew what happened to it. Here's a screen cap of his question:


Matthew replied, saying that they value "reading and being challenged by that review, but ultimately decided as a team to support the conversation in other ways". Here's a screen cap of his reply:


Early Friday morning, I replied to Matthew to acknowledge what they had done and let him know that I was about to get in my car for a day-long road trip and didn't have time to write back at length about the decision.

Just before I got in my car, I saw that the author and illustrator interviews were back on the All the Wonders page.

As I write this post, it is Saturday morning. I'm reading through what happened yesterday on Twitter.

Kathleen Horning of the Cooperative Children's Book Center  asked Matthew for an example of "other ways." He replied, saying "Such as in a conversation on an open forum such as Twitter where all stakeholders can participate in real time." And, here's the screen capture of that:


In an email sent to me yesterday, Matthew suggested I contribute a post for All the Wonders, that consists of books I recommend. He also referenced a Twitter conversation. I haven't replied to him yet. I'm conflicted. If I say yes to his invitation, I'll be able to bring visibility to Native writers.

I'm not angry at Matthew, and I hope this blog post doesn't cause him to withdraw his invitation.

Here's what I think, and some back story...


In posting my review at their site, All the Wonders found themselves mired in the politics of children's literature. Did Jonah Winters demand that his interview be removed? Did Jeanette Winters demand that her interview be removed? Did their publisher make demands of the team at All the Wonders? Did they make threats?! I know--that sounds dramatic--but there's back story to all this that prompts me to use the word "threat."

The Secret Project is published by Simon and Schuster. As one of the Big Five, it is a powerful entity. Back on March 5, 2017, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled The 'Rock Star' Librarians Who Choose What Your Kids Read. That article is how I learned about All the Wonders and Matthew Winner. He's featured in it as one of the three men characterized as rock stars (the three strongly objected to being the focus of the article and to being characterized that way. Women had also been interviewed but were not included).

The article generated a lot of discussion. Allie Jane Bruce of Reading While White did a terrific post about it. She asked some pointed questions. Are these three librarians being used by publishers as a way to get free advertising for their books? Were/are they (inadvertently) functioning as marketers for publishers? Please read the comments to the post. Among them is one from Matthew Winner. He disagreed with her remarks about advertising and marketing. He also said that he wants to increase the diversity of the podcasts at All the Wonders. In my comment to Allie's post, I recommended he add Native writers. He and I started talking, via email, about possibilities and I think one will be there, fairly soon.

I also asked him, in an email, if he might add critical content to some of the pages they do at All the Wonders. He didn't say yes or no, but I believed (and still believe) that he and his team are very interested in being more diverse with what they're doing on their site. So... last week when I saw that All the Wonders had a new page up on The Secret Project, I decided to ask them to add a link to my review and was thrilled that they did. Then, as you know, they removed it.

So, what happened to "A Second Perspective" at All the Wonders?


Did Simon and Schuster put pressure on the All the Wonders team to remove my review? If Simon and Schuster gives All the Wonders books, did they threaten to withhold future books? If Simon and Schuster controls access to its authors and illustrators, did they threaten to withhold access to their authors and illustrators? Did they say "get rid of Debbie's review, or else"?

I don't know if the All the Wonders team was pressured to remove my review, and I'm not going to ask Matthew that question.

It seems to me that the team at All the Wonders was put into a difficult position. They want to offer critical content of books along with podcasts and interviews, but their effort to do so with my review didn't succeed.

I've got lot of questions. Do publishers wield that much power over sites like All the Wonders? If so, that's not good, at all, for anyone. If not, then.... what happened to my review? Right now, several people are wondering what happened.

Update (3/30/17) -- A Response from Matthew Winner


A few days after loading this post, I went back to School Library Journal to read "Rock Star Librarians" Article Hits Sour Note. Written by Addie Matteson and Matthew Winner, it addressed a major concern with the article in the Wall Street Journal that featured three male librarians. This paragraph stood out to me:
The fact that diverse voices weren’t heard, valued, or represented in the WSJ article made us look more closely at the people we look to as leaders, the authors and role models we invite to our schools, the books we choose to read, review, and purchase. We need to do more, and we need to be better. If we want our students to see themselves on our bookshelves and in our programming, we need to actively work toward that goal. How can we expect the world (or the Wall Street Journal) to see school libraries as places where diversity is honored and celebrated if we are not working to make them that way?

Winner's decision to use my review of The Secret Project was evidence of his wish to "do more" and "be better." But, with those words as context, his decision to delete it made the decision to use it in the first place even worse.

I shared that excerpt on Twitter yesterday morning (3/29/17), again asking why my review was taken down. Kate Messner, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Justine Larbaleister retweeted it and asked the question, too.

At 8:14 PM, Winner replied to Kate Messner and Laurie Halse Anderson, saying he would respond. Here's a screencap of his tweet to Laurie:



At 8:41 Winner submitted a response, using the blog's comment form. I saw it in this morning's email and am pasting it here:

Hi everyone. I want to apologize publicly here to anyone who was offended by our decision to include Debbie’s review of The Secret Project in our feature at All Wonders and then retract it later that day.
We feature one book each month in addition to our regular content, and the selected book is one that our team believes stands above the rest. We think of our features as an award from our team, and we honor the chosen book by compiling various forms of content that celebrate it. We even describe the feature to the artists involved as "a week-long celebration of your book." These words, we believe, enter us into a verbal agreement that we will shine a positive light on their work, and it is based upon this agreement that the publisher grants us permission to license their images, words, and behind-the-scenes content. I made a misstep, then, by surprising Jonah and Jeanette Winter and their publisher, Simon & Schuster, with a critique, and introducing an element of debate into the feature. After careful reconsideration of these factors, we decided to pull the post. 
I know now that this series of events confused and offended a number of individuals. I am sorry for that. We (myself along with the team) had the best intentions, which was to offer a “second perspective” post from Debbie, who saw something that we did not see in our reads through the book. We consider critically all of the books that we include on our site, and we welcome discussions about how they are serving readers, but our features in particular are not designed for that purpose. They are designed to give children multiple entry points into what we believe to be special books. 
Once we came to the decision to pull Debbie’s post, we immediately communicated to her via email that we would be removing her post for these reasons and gave her an open invitation to address American Indian representation in children’s books on our site or in the form of a Twitter chat. Though we are still waiting for an official response from Debbie, it is our sincere hope that she will choose to work with us in the future to raise awareness about misrepresentations of American Indians in children’s literature.
Our goal at All the Wonders is not to silence, but to raise the voices of authors, artists, bloggers, and critics in service of readers. I regret the way these events have unfolded, but I consider this an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and a renewal of our mission to build positive relationships with all of our colleagues. 
Sincerely,
Matthew C. WinnerAll The Wonders co-founder 


Matthew did, as he wrote above, email me to say they were removing my post. Specifically, he wrote:
 [We] dd not feel that the piece added to the focus of the feature and that the conversation it beckons would be better served in other contexts throughout the site. We felt that the topic begs for discussion, and that is not something that the feature is suited for or capable of.
That line was particularly ambiguous (to me). He went on to say that they wanted me to write about Native writers and be a guest on a Twitter chat they host.

That invitation is fine, but it is a far cry from what a Second Perspective on books can do for teachers and librarians. When they added my review as A Second Perspective, I thought of all the other books they had featured and that could use A Second Perspective. One, for example, is Laura Jimenez's perspective on Telgemeier's Ghosts. Frankly, I was excited at the possibilities.

Do I want to contribute a post about Native writers to All the Wonders? I'm not sure.

I still think that their decision not to proceed with A Second Perspective is a mistake. A week-long celebration of a book is a mistake if there are concerns about that book's representations of marginalized people.

Winner and the team at All the Wonders were right when they said this, to introduce my review as A Second Perspective at their site:
The story told in The Secret Project through words and illustrations is powerful, but in order to understand and appreciate more fully the context in which the even happened, it is important for readers to be aware of the Native people in and of the surrounding area.
Saying that, they recognized Pueblo children as readers. Indeed, they recognized all children who live in that area who know more about the history and cultures of the area than Jonah and Jeanette Winters told them in The Secret Project. 

As Winner's response says, their decision to add A Second Perspective surprised Jonah and Jeanette Winters, and Simon and Schuster, too, because of his verbal agreement to shine a positive light on their work. That, I believe, explains why their interviews disappeared from the site when A Second Perspective was published. Once that second perspective was removed, their interviews went back up.

Those two people and their publisher set the terms under which Matthew Winner and the team at All the Wonders will speak about their books.

That's not surprising, but Winner is a librarian by training and profession. From that position as a librarian, he is providing a huge service to teachers and librarians who read All the Wonders.

But is it a service to his profession? I think it is a service to publishers. With that as a fact, his words in the SLJ article ring hollow. Doing better doesn't mean just talking up the good. Books get better when we talk about the problems in them, too.

Update, March 31, 2017

Yesterday, Kate Messner asked Matthew Winner for a clarification:
To clarify...were you asked by S&S to remove the original images/words/content after you'd added Debbie's Second Perspective?
He replied saying:
S&S expressed their regret, but we as @_AllTheWonders maintain full autonomy over what we create and what we share on our site. 
and
S&S was very specific about saying they would not pressure us to take down the post. 

27 comments:

Kate Olson said...

I would also like to know! I firmly believe that those of us who discuss children's literature have a responsibility to add critical information regarding the authenticity of any historical or cultural information in the text. As not all of us as reviewers have PhDs in all areas of history, or in my case, ANY area of history, I rely on sites such as this one to give me that perspective. I also use author's notes and always make sure to check other critical reviews about these topics. All the Wonders is a popular source of information on children's literature, and I would like to think that they are as concerned about authenticity and representation as all reviewers should be. I saw Donalyn's update to her Goodreads review yesterday and was so impressed - she also commented on someone else's review asking if they had seen your post. THAT is what good reviewers and "kidlit pushers" do - we revise our reviews when we find out new information.

Anne Ursu said...

I think all of us--writers, publishers, gatekeepers--need to get past the idea that there are any stakeholders in children's books other than the kids themselves. Thank you for reminding us of that.

Anonymous said...

I thought Winner and co-writer’s SLJ rebuttal to the rockstar article wimped out and was mansplaining women issues to it's audience. Discussing what they plan on doing about it-- sometime in the future-- was not impressive, talk is cheap. I’m not surprised by this second wimp out. S&S wants to sell a book and not be challenged.

Kara Stewart said...

I'd also like to know why they removed your review. Having multiple points of view about books is crucial to teachers and parents who buy those books - it doesn't serve any readers well (kids or adults) to remove those points of view.

Laurel Hall said...

Thank you for the update on this, Debbie.

It's sad, but no surprise that in a field that's 80+% women, it's three men who are designated "rock stars."

Matthew C. Winner said...

Hi everyone. I want to apologize publically here to anyone who was offended by our decision to include Debbie’s review of The Secret Project in our feature at All Wonders and then retract it later that day.

We feature one book each month in addition to our regular content, and the selected book is one that our team believes stands above the rest. We think of our features as an award from our team, and we honor the chosen book by compiling various forms of content that celebrate it. We even describe the feature to the artists involved as "a week-long celebration of your book." These words, we believe, enter us into a verbal agreement that we will shine a positive light on their work, and it is based upon this agreement that the publisher grants us permission to license their images, words, and behind-the-scenes content. I made a misstep, then, by surprising Jonah and Jeanette Winter and their publisher, Simon & Schuster, with a critique, and introducing an element of debate into the feature. After careful reconsideration of these factors, we decided to pull the post.

I know now that this series of events confused and offended a number of individuals. I am sorry for that. We (myself along with the team) had the best intentions, which was to offer a “second perspective” post from Debbie, who saw something that we did not see in our reads through the book. We consider critically all of the books that we include on our site, and we welcome discussions about how they are serving readers, but our features in particular are not designed for that purpose. They are designed to give children multiple entry points into what we believe to be special books.

Once we came to the decision to pull Debbie’s post, we immediately communicated to her via email that we would be removing her post for these reasons and gave her an open invitation to address American Indian representation in children’s books on our site or in the form of a Twitter chat. Though we are still waiting for an official response from Debbie, it is our sincere hope that she will choose to work with us in the future to raise awareness about misrepresentations of American Indians in children’s literature.

Our goal at All the Wonders is not to silence, but to raise the voices of authors, artists, bloggers, and critics in service of readers. I regret the way these events have unfolded, but I consider this an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and a renewal of our mission to build positive relationships with all of our colleagues.

Sincerely,

Matthew C. Winner
All The Wonders co-founder

Kathy Halsey said...

I am glad I found this thread and will be sharing it and all perspectives at the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature next weekend at Kent State. I am saddened by these events and the decision to pull Debbie's perspective piece. I appreciate all the viewpoints, but I. too, still wonder was there pressure from S&S? As a retired school librarian, now children's writer, I feel reviews must be honest and be in service of our intended audience. Information that enhances and sheds a clearer light on event must be there for readers and those who select and put books in children's hands.

Karen Perry said...

I agree with Matthew Winner and his team at All the Wonder on their decision to pull Debbie's Second Perspective, which was at the heart, a negative critique of the book The Secret Project. They are, like Booklist magazine, a source of POSITIVE reviews for children's books. If Debbie can provide a blog entry for them that shares what she believes to be excellent books about/by Native Americans for children, that will fit with their mission. Negative criticism is not what All the Wonder is about.

Kate Olson said...

Karen - what I perceive the difference between All the Wonders and Booklist to be is that Booklist just does not publish reviews for books they have negative opinions of, but they don't spin all reviews positive. That's an important distinction! I also don't publish heavily negative reviews on my blog - I choose not to cover these books at all. If a book is to be covered, it should be covered in all of its glory - good bad and ugly UNLESS it is marketed as an advertisement. Then we all know what it is. If a book is only controversial in its writing quality, that is one thing. But inaccurately depicting specific people/cultures/places IS a problem.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Karen. There are other places for this type of discussion, like Heavy Medal and Reading While White, and this blog as well. All the Wonders has always been about celebrating books, and isn't the venue for this kind of discussion. The mistake including your review in the beginning, if they didn't mean to keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, this makes me question the effectiveness of All the Wonders as a reliable source for choosing books. A site that celebrates problematic books without addressing these problems or looking at the bigger context, and a site that is so willing to submit to the whims and demands of publishers and authors in this way, seems like a site focused on supporting the needs of the publisher, not readers or schools and library staff. Debbie Reese was able to easily note two books celebrated by All the Wonders that have been rightly criticized for their portrayal (or lack there) of marginalized groups. Do we really need yet another source praising problematic materials?

Now maybe this is a simplified way of looking at this, but I've just seen this too often. It happens with reviews, with article, with research. Texts are praised by those who are unfamiliar with the cultures, themes, and representations present in the book (generally white folks). It is why I've been trying to seek out more voices like Debbie Reese, to better understand the problem and to see a bigger picture.

Celebrating books is a great thing, but more really needs to be done to ensure that those being praised and celebrated are thoroughly vetted as accurate representations.
~Zee

Anonymous said...

If Karen is correct in that All the wonder is only for positive reviews, then it's time to seriously question it's value. To acknowledge there are issues with a work and ignore them really highlights the lack of credibility in the publishing and promotional reviewing industry. If All the wonder took debbie reese's concerns seriously, quite frankly they should have pulled the promotion/celebration of the work. Of course, if they did so that would impact their relationship with the publisher.

lisao said...

I am fascinated by the folks who are saying that to celebrate a book that we then have to universally say it is great without any criticism, that someone can't both appreciate a piece of art and yet acknowledge that it is in some ways problematic. I also have concerns about librarians selling out to publishers. This is how we end up with causal racism, sexism, homophobia being ignored, because we choose not to poke any holes in the greatness of a work. Troubling. Thank you Debbie for bringing this and so many other things to light.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, Justina Ireland just Tweeted on another issue:


Ergo, Racism.‏Verified account @justinaireland 4h4 hours ago

Hi. Here's a daily reminder that no one owes you a platform.

She is entirely right. If Wimmer feels he made an error in putting up Debbie's review on his blog, it is more than reasonable for him to take it down, no matter what the reason. His reason is just exceptionally reasonable.

Debbie's point of view can and will get discussed elsewhere, like here.

Anonymous said...

I am a bit confused as to why Debbie was hounding Matthew all week on Twitter for a public response, when she had an email response from him that she didn't answer. It sounds like she really wanted to ramp up the public drama.

Unknown said...

It is true that Matthew Winner does not "owe" Debbie a platform. But nor do we owe him immunity from judgment about his choices. He chose to withdraw his offer of a platform despite knowing that she "saw something that we did not see in our reads through the book." He judged that making his readers aware of that "something" was less important than placating S&S and the Winters. He can do that. He has that right.

And we have the right to criticize him for having such craven priorities.

--Veronica

Anonymous said...

It came down to two words--"isolated" and "nobody."

Isolated means far from a population center--which Los Alamos WAS. It's the reason they chose that location FFS. She takes it to mean no one lived there, which it does not mean.

"Nobody knew they were there." Well, obvi someone knew. "Only a few people besides the local Native Americans" would have been more accurate, but REALLY???! This is not marginalizing anyone, you're dinging the author for not specifying which groups of people were unaware of the Manhattan Project.

So now you question if she should participate at all, I say no.

Anonymous said...

It isn't that hard to say "not many people know they were there" instead of "Nobody." Its the same number of syllables so the cadence of the sentence remains. But more the point, it's more accurate.

Anyway, I'm troubled by "rockstar" librarians only praising books and staying away from critique. It smells of one who does not want to rock their close relationship with publishers. Publishers need to be aware of these issues and so they try harder to stop publishing problematic material, and if they don't catch these issues in house, then perhaps a close reading by librarians may help.

I think I may stay away from the big kitlit librarian blogs now. I've always appreciated the institutional reviews because they're honest: "This book is great because of x, y, z, but it does a, b, c, so we wont' give it a star." (To be overly simplistic.) To have blogs pushing kid books but only focusing on the positive seems disingenuous and a little like another way for publishers to market their books...

I left publishing and went into librarianship because of the opportunities for nuance and honesty--I could celebrate and be critical of books when recommending them to children and families. Kids are smart, they'll likely want to read the book anyway and decisions for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I don't necessarily think that the "big kidlit bloggers" are always positive and never negative. I've never seen any negativity from Matthew Winner, but Betsy Bird and Travis Jonker both try to be honest and objective, I think. Of course, you're welcome to read or not read whatever you like, but I do feel like if you cut yourself off from those major blogs, there will be good work and new books that you will miss. You might even be hurting yourself professionally.

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with the "two words" theory.

"Isolated" is accurate.

So now we are down to one word.

"Nobody" is an inaccurate term as to who "knew they were there." Local Natives knew they were there, but so did local Anglos and Hispanics in Albuquerque. Do we really think the children of any of those three groups would feel marginalized by not being specifically mentioned?

Is this really a good reason to not recommend a book?

Or is it an opportunity for a teacher to ask students, "Is this accurate? Who might have known about the giant facility they were building in the mountains?" Local kids of ALL local cultures might have grandparents and great grandparents who DID know.


Another more accurate approach might have been been to say that nobody knew WHY they were there, which is really the point of a secret project, and the focus of the book.

This is drama over a very minor point. If you fight to the death over a mosquito, no one will listen to you when you point out the dragons.


pamela thompson said...

This email is directed at Anonymous who says he/she "will stay away from big kidlit bloggers' and "'rock star librarians only praising books and staying away from critique." As a kidlit and YA blogger myself and reviewer for SLJ, I can answer for myself. I give each book my honest opinion. Even if I personally do not like a book, but I can see kid or teen readers that would like it, I review it honestly for them. On my blog http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/ I only review those books that I recommend. I feel it is difficult for a writer to put words to paper and even more difficult to find an agent and sell a book. It is not my job or calling to crush their creative efforts. If I do not review a book, it it because I personally do not recommend it. If it appears on my blog, I either liked it or LOVED it. There is no need to tear down authors.

Also, the "Big 5" publishers that Debbie refers to send me boxes of books for review as does every small publishing house. I pick and choose what to review. I am not compensated in any way by any publisher. It is up to the blogger, reviewer, columnist to review whatever book their choose.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I see that Anonymouses (anonymi?) have checked off the bingo squares of "it's just a couple of words," "why are you making such a big deal?" and the old favorite, "why don't you save your critique for the 'real' problems." Anonymous commenters, the real question is: why are you so invested in (anonymously) telling a Pueblo woman that her reading of a book that takes place on Pueblo lands is invalid?

The comments do show why All the Wonders' original invitation to include the review was important, though. And why, in addition to raising questions about the role of blog review sites -- and whose interests they serve -- Winner's decision to remove the review validates the gaslighting and erasure that are all too common.

-- Sarah Hamburg

Anonymous said...

"Why are you so invested in (anonymously) telling a Pueblo woman that her reading of a book that takes place on Pueblo lands is invalid?"

People aren't "so invested" in that. The question is whether one person's opinion of one poorly worded sentence in an entire book is grounds for dismissal.

The other aspect is the interaction between publishers, librarians and reviewers. Everyone has their opinion and is entitled to both their opinion and the reaction of others to that opinion. Accusing reviewers/bloggers of somehow benefiting from their reviews is ridiculous.

Teachers and librarians are fully aware that fiction and non-fiction need contextualization and critical review, especially when used in the classroom. This was an an excellent opportunity to point that out.




Anonymous said...

But it isn't just one sentence that Debbie Reese critiqued. It is the combination of the art and the words erasing the presence of the Pueblo groups that lived (and still live) there. It is the depiction of that area as isolated and empty, when it was not. It is those of you posting as anonymous (are there multiple posters?) that are focusing on that one sentence. But there is more problems with this book then just that, and presenting this book only in a positive light without that context does a disservice to those who use sites like All The Wonders, and to the children who will read the book. There is also the concern of review sites becoming more like a form of marketing for publishers, rather than being a tool for libraries, schools, and readers.
~ Zee

Michelle Cusolito said...

I'm thankful for this discussion. I'm reading and learning.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has ever looked at the many and easily-found archival pictures of the region from the early 1940s, seen the desolate area around the "hill," tracked the path of the narrow road up the hill from the junction with the Taos-Santa Fe road, cannot come to any conclusion other than that Los Alamos was isolated. That's why the government bought the school up there to house the Manhattan Project. The focus of the book is the Manhattan Project. It is not the experience of the San Ildefonso Pueblo Indians or numerous others (truck drivers, quartermasters, suppliers, builders, relatives of personnel) who knew that "something" was happening up there. That's an interesting book, a book about the people who knew something was going on up on the hill having to do with the war effort but were big enough patriots to keep their mouths shut and curiosity under control. Someone else should write it. But it's not the focus of this book, and I'm glad it's not this book.

mimzy said...

It is a problem of thinking about the potential issue. A quick google search for 'pueblo' and 'los alamos' reveals this site, for example, https://sites.coloradocollege.edu/ejsw/2016/11/17/environmental-injustices-for-pueblo-communities-near-los-alamos-national-laboratory/ which clearly indicates that maybe it wasn't so isolated. So although it isn't the focus of the book, perhaps the book could have been more carefully worded with a little effort.