A Trust Betrayed: The Untold Story of Camp Lejeune and the Poisoning of Generations of Marines and Their Families

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Overview


While the big bad corporation has often been the offender in many of the world’s greatest environmental disasters, in the case of the mass poisoning at Camp Lejeune the culprit is a revered institution: the US Marine Corps. For two decades now, revelations have steadily emerged about pervasive contamination, associated clusters of illness and death among the Marine families stationed there, and military stonewalling and failure to act. Mike Magner’s chilling investigation creates a suspenseful narrative from the...
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A Trust Betrayed: The Untold Story of Camp Lejeune and the Poisoning of Generations of Marines and Their Families

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Overview


While the big bad corporation has often been the offender in many of the world’s greatest environmental disasters, in the case of the mass poisoning at Camp Lejeune the culprit is a revered institution: the US Marine Corps. For two decades now, revelations have steadily emerged about pervasive contamination, associated clusters of illness and death among the Marine families stationed there, and military stonewalling and failure to act. Mike Magner’s chilling investigation creates a suspenseful narrative from the individual stories, scientific evidence, and smoldering sense of betrayal among those whose motto is undying fidelity. He also raises far-reaching and ominous questions about widespread contamination on US military bases worldwide.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

When we think of Marines, most of us imagine strong, healthy, brave warriors going off to war. Few of us would be totally prepared for encounters with the hundreds of Marines and their families still suffering from the aftermaths of their exposure to dangerously contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. As Mike Magner explains in this disarming book, from at least 1953 to 1985, thousands of these patriotic men and women at this North Carolina drank water containing toxins up to 3,400 times levels permitted by safety standards. He shows that military authorities responded to this health catastrophe slowly, incompletely, and sometimes with callous disregard. A chilling indictment of an honored American institution. (P.S. Magner is also the author of Poisoned Legacy: The Human Cost of BP's Rise to Power.)

Publishers Weekly
02/03/2014
The poisoning of the water supply with toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune, the large U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina, began in the 1950s, exposing as many as a million Marines and their families to dangerously contaminated water over the next three decades. It wasn’t until the 1980s, though, that the extent of the danger to the health of untold numbers of Camp Lejeune families first came to light. Magner, the managing editor of National Journal, reveals the troubling details of this environmental and public health disaster, the “largest and worst incidence of a poisoned water supply in history.” This exposé addresses the efforts by Marine Corps officials to ignore evidence of the contamination, drag their heels on warning of the dangers, and continue to allow the contaminated wells to be used long into the 1980s. What initially “was a story of negligence,” according to Magner, “turned to dissembling, stonewalling, and obfuscation.” While not exactly the “untold” story implied by the title, this book is the first complete account of what really happened—an adroit mixture of detailed factual reporting and disturbing accounts of the serious health problems suffered by individual Marines and their families. (Apr.)
From the Publisher

Kirkus Reviews, 2/1/14

“A fast-moving, smartly detailed story of an environmental disaster compounded by the Corps’ broken promise—‘We take care of our own’—to the men who served and suffered.”

Publishers Weekly, 2/3/14

“This book is the first complete account of what really happened—an adroit mixture of detailed factual reporting and disturbing accounts of the serious health problems suffered by individual Marines and their families.”

New York Post, 3/30/14
“Magner reports the awful results through affected families’ sad stories—along with the Pentagon’s slow and sorry response.”

The VVA Veteran, March/April 2014
“Magner does a thorough job telling the story…The book is an adroit mixture of detailed reporting on the facts and disturbing accounts of the serious health problems of individual Marines and their families.”

Washington Post, 4/6/14
“A meticulous reporter, Magner draws from a bounty of memos and other documents to build a devastating case against a generation of military leaders who ignored or played down the contamination at the base. He adds new insights into the appalling decisions made by Lejeune administrators who were alerted to the contamination but kept the water flowing without alerting residents to the severity of the problem…In writing this book, Magner has done a great service to those Marine families—a service that the Marines failed to provide.”

InfoDad blog, 4/3/14
“Make[s] a large subject comprehensible…Magner’s carefully detailed look at the ways in which the Defense Department repeatedly failed Marine families even as the toxic-waste accumulation appeared to spawn birth defects and cancers is damning, and his discussion of the slow-moving bureaucratic machinery that allowed the toxic-waste problem to go unaddressed or inadequately addressed for so long is enough to infuriate any reader who thinks of the government, and the military in particular, as a sleek, efficient, and fast-moving machine.”

Florida Weekly, 5/6/14
“The shocking, true story of an environmental disaster at Camp Lejeune that poisoned generations of U.S. Marines and triggered one of the largest hazardous waste exposures in history…This extremely disturbing book demands the military hold itself accountable for the health and safety of its bases and tenants so that health disasters like the one at Camp Lejeune never happen again.”

Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-23
The National Journal's managing editor investigates "the largest and worst incidence of a poisoned water supply in history." Its coastal perch, rivers and swamps, tangled forests and humid climate made 152,000 undeveloped acres in North Carolina perfect for the establishment, in 1941, of an advance-force training base. From Camp Lejeune, the Marines would practice landings that culminated in heroics in foreign wars. Over the decades, however, the base also became a dump for diesel and gasoline, cleaning solvents, chemical weapons, gas cylinders, insecticides, waste oil and battery acid, pesticides, grease and mercury. Burn dumps for garbage, pits containing industrial waste, construction debris, ordnance and mortar shells all dotted the landscape and bubbled into a toxic stew that seeped into an already precarious water supply. Magner (Poisoned Legacy: The Human Cost of BP's Rise to Power, 2011) chronicles the resulting catastrophe—heartbreaking stories of infant deaths, a wide range of grisly birth defects and an alarming array of cancers—by interleaving his narrative with intimate portraits of affected Marines and their families. Nearly as shocking, though, is his tale of the Marine Corps' slow awakening to the problem, its unconscionable foot-dragging, its unwillingness to answer questions or to study the adverse health effects linked to the chemicals found in the water. Only the persistent, organized efforts of "a highly motivated group of former Marines," Lejeune victims whose lives were capsized, first by the Corps' negligence and then by its indifference, led to action that culminated in a 2012 federal law authorizing medical care to Lejeune Marines and their families. Efforts to broaden that statute, as well as a variety of lawsuits, continue. A fast-moving, smartly detailed story of an environmental disaster compounded by the Corps' broken promise—"We take care of our own"—to the men who served and suffered.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306822575
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Series: A Merloyd Lawrence Book
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 186,634
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Mike Magner is managing editor at National Journal, a highly respected print and online publication for Washington insiders, and is the author of Poisoned Legacy: The Human Cost of BP’s Rise to Power, published by St. Martin’s Press in 2011. He has been a journalist for 37 years, including 15 years in the Washington Bureau for Newhouse Newspapers, five years with the Natural Resources News Service and five years at the National Journal.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2014

    The personal stories of the victims of this catastrophy pull you

    The personal stories of the victims of this catastrophy pull you in, the scientific background is presented in an understandable way, and the decades of stalling in this case are shocking. Important to all military personnel, past and present, it is also vital information for all of us. Water contamination can happen anywhere.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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