In a recent interview Robert Oppenheimer (Director of the first U.S. Nuclear Weapons Tests) said, "We did the devil's work". This statement makes us realize that people who were in charge of carrying out the first nuclear weapons tests, during the 1960's, themselves realize that the tests they had participated in are having several unforeseen ill effects in the future. The book Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, written by Terry Tempest Williams, talks about the unforeseen effects of these nuclear tests on a local Salt Lake City family. The book also talks about the flooding during the winter of 1982 through the summer of 1984 that devastated Salt Lake City. Terry Tempest Williams goes into specific details on the effects of the flooding on a local bird migratory refuge. This scene of natural devastation is played out on the backdrop of her mother's battle with cancer, as a result of living downhill from a nuclear weapons test site. William's ability to deal with both of these major changes in her life is mainly discussed in the book, with the advocation of a ban on nuclear weapons testing.
Terry Tempest Williams, a fifth-generation Mormon, grew up in Salt Lake City. Williams worked as a naturalist-in-residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History and also served as a professor at the University of Utah. Growing up in Salt Lake City, Williams often visited the migratory bird refugee, which was almost destroyed during the flooding of the early 1980's. The effects of the flooding on the refuge made Williams deeply concerned about environmental issues, which led to her becoming an environmentalist author. Williams describes her writing as, "Through my biases of gender, geography, and culture, that I am a women whose ideas have been shaped by the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin, that these ideas are then sorted out through the prism of my culture- and my culture is Mormon.