Tom Zoellner: Uranium | Entertainment Picks | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Tom Zoellner: Uranium 

Thursday, March 19

Pin It

Tom Zoellner: Uranium

You may not expect a fascinating, complex piece of history from a book about a mineral.

Tom Zoellner, however, is making a career of just that. In 2006, Zoellner—a one-time Salt Lake Tribune reporter—explored the politics and economics of the international diamond trade in The Heartless Stone. His new book Uranium similarly uses the quest for a precious product of the earth as a way to study the ruthlessness of such pursuits, and how they can change history.

His tale spans centuries, from the earliest discoveries of “pitchblende” as a by-product of silver mining in Bohemia to the “intelligence” about Iraq’s pursuit of uranium and the current push for increased nuclear power. Along the way, he relates the discoveries that changed the perception of uranium from useless slag to potential miracle cure and, eventually, as a key to both abundant energy and previously unimaginable destruction.

But the most compelling human angle for locals comes when Zoellner revisits the “uranium rush” of the 1950-70s, as the United States and Soviet Union both raced to stockpile the element that was the key to nuclear weapons. Part of that story involves the rich deposits found in southern Utah, including the one that turned prospector Charlie Steen into a millionaire. Moab emerges as just one of the many places changed forever by the quest for the radioactive material, and Zoellner makes the sprawling narrative fascinating—and more than a little bit scary. Join him this week for a local reading and signing event.

Tom Zoellner: Uranium @ Sam Weller’s Bookstore, 254 S. Main, 801-328-2586, Thursday, March 19, 7 p.m.

Pin It

Speaking of...

  • Bad Day at Red Rock

    Moab's former city manager sues alleging she was fired for being a whistleblower on troubled police dept.
    • Jan 11, 2017
  • Central Book Exchange

    A look at the history and current happenings at the Sugar House bookshop
    • Jul 15, 2015
  • The Girl & The Beast

    Local author Peter Clampton on his digital book series
    • May 12, 2015
  • More »

More by Scott Renshaw

  • Red State Man

    Stillwater avoids political caricature, but with a reluctance to get its hands dirty.
    • Jul 28, 2021
  • Fringe Kiss

    Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival presents a hybrid experience of live and virtual experimental works.
    • Jul 28, 2021
  • Movie Reviews: New Releases for July 23

    Old, Joe Bell, Val, Settlers and more
    • Jul 22, 2021
  • More »

Latest in Entertainment Picks

Readers also liked…

© 2021 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation