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Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town

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Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town Cover

 

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

Metsfan91, January 17, 2011 (view all comments by Metsfan91)
Did McMasters go to William Floyd?..How old is she? It appears we may be the same age- and We did move here in the early 1970's from Nassau County, (and before that Brooklyn)...we referred to our "New Home" in "Shirley" as the country..I have lived here ever since...I was about 7 when we moved here- my sister was 5- Don't remember Kelly though...But do remember loving our "town" and going to the drive in and eating at skippy's and shopping at Bohack- and if we took a little drive- going to Woolworth and Hills in Center Moriches. I plan an reading this book..But Kelly...our schools were small enough that we should remember you but we don't....Who are you? And, How long did you live here?
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blanche, August 26, 2010 (view all comments by blanche)
Providing a fair and accurate depiction of life in Shirley, NY required the author to have been alive and aware of her surroundings at the time the town was stood up. Her depiction of Shirley is similar to establishing a scathing critique of the Bronx circa 1960s when it was on the decline and only a shadow of its former self. Shirley was, in its heyday, a Normam Rockwell town. A place of quiet and tranquility. A great place, in fact, to raise a family. A town of simple wants and needs nestled near the Atlantic. Lazy summer days sun bathing at Shirley beach,and later when the Smith Point bridge was constructed, along a beautiful strip of Fire Island. Summer evenings catching a burger or two at Skippy's before heading into the Shirley Drive-In to catch a Cinemascope main feature. Winters of significantly more peace and quiet. Townsfolk who took deep pride in their community, many of whom were recent city transplants taking true delight in small town living. One could go on about Shirley at a time when its founder was present. Then again, one could portray the town in an entirely different light, after Mr. Shirley had passed. When it was overrun in the early 1970s by folks with a limited to non-existent sense of community, essentially destroying the small town integrity that Shirley once enjoyed. I have no issue with the author's description of life in that area as she knew it. The problem is, she has no idea what the town was truly like in its prime. To refer to Mr. Shirley as a "huckster" is to depict him as a cardboard cutout. In person, an entirely different individual than the one the author makes out in her book. Research of a place must be considered in proper context. One can never truly experience a place unless they were there at the time and, unfortunately, the author was born much too late to appreciate what she missed. There are folks, of an earlier generation than the author, who think back on Shirley as it once existed, wishing that they could travel to a time before the great 1970s invasion. The stuff that dreams are made of...
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(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
blanche, August 26, 2010 (view all comments by blanche)
Providing a fair and accurate depiction of life in Shirley, NY required the author to have been alive and aware of her surroundings at the time the town was stood up. Her depiction of Shirley is similar to establishing a scathing critique of the Bronx circa 1960s when it was on the decline and only a shadow of its former self. Shirley was, in its heyday, a Normam Rockwell town. A place of quiet and tranquility. A great place, in fact, to raise a family. A town of simple wants and needs nestled near the Atlantic. Lazy summer days sun bathing at Shirley beach,and later when the Smith Point bridge was constructed, along a beautiful strip of Fire Island. Summer evenings catching a burger or two at Skippy's before heading into the Shirley Drive-In to catch a Cinemascope main feature. Winters of significantly more peace and quiet. Townsfolk who took deep pride in their community, many of whom were recent city transplants taking true delight in small town living. One could go on about Shirley at a time when its founder was present. Then again, one could portray the town in an entirely different light, after Mr. Shirley had passed. When it was overrun in the early 1970s by folks with a limited to non-existent sense of community, essentially destroying the small town integrity that Shirley once enjoyed. I have no issue with the author's description of life in that area as she knew it. The problem is, she has no idea what the town was truly like in its prime. To refer to Mr. Shirley as a "huckster" is to depict him as a cardboard cutout. In person, an entirely different individual than the one the author makes out in her book. Research of a place must be considered in proper context. One can never truly experience a place unless they were there at the time and, unfortunately, the author was born much too late to appreciate what she missed. There are folks, of an earlier generation than the author, who think back on Shirley as it once existed, wishing that they could travel to a time before the great 1970s invasion. The stuff that dreams are made of...
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781586484866
Subtitle:
A Memoir from an Atomic Town
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Author:
McMasters, Kelly
Subject:
Pollution
Subject:
History
Subject:
General
Subject:
Childhood Memoir
Subject:
Regional Subjects - MidAtlantic
Subject:
Environmental Science
Subject:
McMasters, Kelly - Childhood and youth
Subject:
Shirley (Suffolk County, N.Y.)
Subject:
General Biography
Subject:
Biography-Childhood Memoir
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20090428
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
map
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 17.5 oz

Related Subjects

Biography » General
History and Social Science » Americana » New York
History and Social Science » Americana » Northeast
History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » Pollution

Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 336 pages PublicAffairs - English 9781586484866 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Journalist McMasters's look at the toxic relationship between Brookhaven National Laboratory and the neighboring Long Island towns careens into a tedious memoir of childhood. McMasters moved to the unpromising working-class town of Shirley in the early 1970s when she was five and her golf pro father got a job with Hampton Hills Golf & Country Club. For a child without siblings, the street teeming with young families was a magical place to grow up, and McMasters made lifelong girlfriends. However, the town was economically depressed, despite its optimistic founding by Walter T. Shirley in the early 1950s. And Shirley was in the shadow of the top-secret Brookhaven atomic research laboratory, whose nuclear reactor was completed in 1965 regardless of the dangers posed to the growing community. Tritium, the waste from nuclear experiments, leaked into the adjacent rivers and aquifers for decades, and the author ploddingly traces the seepage into private wells. The town flirted with a name change to bolster property values, just as residents were plagued by alarming cases of cancer. Indeed, thanks to the Long Island Breast Cancer Research Project of 1993, a 'cluster' of cases was discovered within a 15-mile radius of Brookhaven. Intermittently, McMasters summons considerable research and critical powers, yet the litany of Shirley's resident misery resists an elegant synthesis." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "McMasters tells the story…with passion and clarity. She also pulls off a small miracle in the telling, making rundown, unbeautiful Shirley a place of dignity, a place of heroic people and stubborn fighters, a place you'd be proud to call home."
"Review" by , "Journalist McMasters writes with precision, affection, and venom about the history of her hometown...Joining the growing circle of environmental health memoirists, McMasters marshals the facts and articulates feelings with eloquence and drama, telling stories of personal suffering to expose crimes against the public, and nature itself."
"Review" by , "Powerful...debut explores the author's happy childhood next to a controversial nuclear laboratory that leaked toxic waste into a Long Island aquifer. McMasters follows up this moving material with pages that delve into case-study numbers and scientific quotes ... Sincere and expertly researched."
"Review" by , "All places are mute till someone speaks for them — this book bears marvelous, scalding witness to the kind of horror that's been repeated in so many spots that we've almost gone numb. But no one will be numb after reading this account."
"Review" by , "McMasters has written an eloquent love song to the small, unfashionable town where she grew up, with echoes of such great writers as Thornton Wilder and Edgar Lee Masters and Upton Sinclair. This is a great book about small town America. It should be required reading for us all."
"Review" by , "Welcome to Shirley is an uplifting and disturbing hybrid of the personal and the journalistic, slipping between profound nostalgia and an adult reckoning with the realities of her gritty town. McMasters' voice is devastating in its clarity and urgency and great tenderness."
"Review" by , "The heartbreak of this story is in the small details, which leave a lingering sense of lives that might be forgotten if they were not recalled here. Both personal and political, and steadily compelling, Welcome to Shirley is a thoughtful, delicate elegy to an ideal."
"Review" by , "In the era of Love Canal, A Civil Action and An Inconvenient Truth, McMasters delivers this all-American atomic town to us with a rare precision. McMasters' is an American life as ordinary — and wholly remarkable — as our damaged industrial centuries: Norman Rockwell with his brush dipped in isotopes."
"Review" by , "This intimate portrait of hardscrabble Shirley, Long Island shows through individual lives — and deaths — how environmental injustice works."
"Synopsis" by ,
In a down-and-out service town to the glittering Hamptons, a shadow falls over a girl's magical childhood
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