Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture
Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture

Stories of Fallout, not so Friendly May 11 at Sierra College

Posted on May 4, 2012
Filed Under North Tahoe Events

Ann Ronald, Ph.D., a University of Nevada, Reno Foundation Professor of English Emerita and author of “Friendly Fallout 1953,” will share facts and stories about atomic testing in the Nevada desert during her presentation “Stories of Fallout, not so Friendly” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11 at Sierra College.

Ronald will share the impact of the test explosions in all their terrifying magnificence and explore the diverse and sometimes conflicting emotions of a generation that saw atomic energy as its best protection against the horrors of another world war. In the search for national power and security, people, wildlife and livestock became the accidental victims.

“Friendly Fallout 1953” is a hybrid work that combines the actual history of atomic tests in the Nevada desert with fictional vignettes that explore the impact of the tests on the people who participated in them and on civilian down-winders. Told through the perspectives of military personnel, scientists and ranchers, the stories bring to life a turbulent era when Cold War fears, patriotism, scientific ambition, and popular excitement often collided with the welfare of ordinary citizens and the environment. Ronald grew up in the Pacific Northwest. The family photo album shows her on her first pair of skis when she was three years old, carrying her first backpack when she was nine. Her enthusiasm for untracked scenery has never wavered. Graduating from Whitman College with a BA in 1961, and from the University of Colorado with an MA in 1966, she then managed to survive away from the West long enough to complete her Ph.D. at Northwestern University in 1970. After that brief Illinois exile, she promised herself she would never live east of the Rockies again. She’s worked at UNR ever since graduate school, first as an English professor, later as dean of the College of Arts and Science, and now as an English professor again. Her work has always focused on landscape.

“Experts and Insights is a lecture series that offers scholarly presentations that explore the dynamics of diverse disciplines. The presentations awaken our sense of wonder and evoke conversation,” shares Dr. Kim Bateman, Dean of Sierra College’s Tahoe-Truckee campus.

Best known for her book on “Edward Abbey, The New West of Edward Abbey,” she also has written a Zane Grey monograph and a study of nineteen-century British fiction, Functions of Setting in the Novel. She has published numerous articles of literary criticism on a number of English and American authors, and lately she has been publishing more creative essays. GhostWest: Reflections Past and Present examines places in the West which define themselves in terms of their past histories. Her newest book, “Oh, Give Me A Home,” muses about how our actions in the American West today influence the ways in which future generations will perceive this special place. A Foundation Professor at the University of Nevada Reno , Ann Ronald was named the university’s Outstanding Researcher in 2005. She was elected to the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in 2006. Ann Ronald has never given up her enthusiasm for landscape and the out-of-doors.

Experts and Insights is a free, monthly lecture series that takes place on the Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee campus. Students, residents and visitors are welcome. Sierra College opens at 7 p.m. for complimentary coffee, tea, cookies and socializing. The presentations begin at 7:30 p.m. and conclude by 8:50 p.m. Sierra College is located at 11001 College Trail in Truckee. For more information, visit or e-mail with “Experts and Insights” in the subject line. Space is limited. Kindly RSVP by calling (530) 550-2290.

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