A Scandalous Stack: My Mini Challenge for the April 2021 Dewy’s Readathon

My friends and family think I’m perhaps the weirdest person on the planet for my television content. You won’t find me streaming the newest titles on Netflix. I spend my Tv time watching documentaries and crime shows. A binge watching night usually includes episodes of Nova, Forensic Files, and my favorite, the classic version of Unsolved Mysteries. In fact, I’m watching it now as I write. Go figure! 


I’ve been thinking about this mini challenge, as well as the upcoming readathon for a while now, and wondering what I should write or how to start it. Oh, the joy of writer’s block. Then, as I’m watching Unsolved Mysteries of course, with my sleepy, sick dog cuddling next to me on the couch, I get the bolt of inspiration I’d been hoping for. The episode containing the strange death of David Bocks comes on, a perfect fit for my mini challenge. 


First off, let’s discuss my idea for the challenge. The idea is to gather a short stack, perhaps 2 to 3 books to read for the Dewy’s 24-hour readathon. We hear about scandals on television, the internet, or even from word of mouth, and we’re quick to offer up our own judgement in the case, when in actuality, we don’t know the whole of the story. Thankfully, books can offer up a deeper glimpse into a scandal, but obviously it is still without unbiased, as an author’s motive behind writing of the book is to argue their own opinion on the matter. When we take the time to gain a deeper understanding on the scandals instead of dismissing everyone else’s opinion except our own, we can learn to look at future issues with a more balanced approach instead of drawing a conclusion with limited knowledge. After knowing more about the case, the most important question to ask is, has your opinion about the scandal changed? 


David Bocks, a 39-year-old man, went missing at his place of work, a uranium processing plant in 1984. Belongings of his, along with fragments of bone were later found in a uranium vat, typically kept  to a temperature of over 1300 degrees F. Authorities decided that David Bocks most likely died of suicide, as he had been enduring psychological issues for years, but as we all know, there isn’t an easy answer to the case. Another theory arose that he may have been murdered because he was possibly going to blow the whistle on the factory’s illegal dumping of radioactive materials. The controversy continues to this day. Did he kill himself, or was he eliminated as part of a massive cover-up? 


Some people dream to become famous, while others never expect to find fame, and simply stumble into the spotlight. Some, like authors, scientists and historical figures, don’t achieve fame until after their deaths. David Bocks was a hardworking man, just doing what he could to make ends meet. Unfortunately, his death is not fading from view so quietly. Even today, there is a subreddit about his death, and a podcast episode is available for listening. You can read about the podcast here. 


After doing some more reading on the case, I still believe he may have been murdered, but I’m unsure as to who. He did report someone for sleeping on the job, and the person in question was suspended. That might have caused him to earn an enemy, since he was known to go by the book and never brake a rule. I don’t feel that he killed himself. He was making plans with his family  for an upcoming trip, and even though he had some psychological problems, even his own psychiatrist doesn’t believe suicide was a possibility. Finally, he surely would have known that a hot 1350 degree vat would be a rather painful way to go. There have been crazy methods of suicide by some individuals, but this does not strike me as a way anyone would want to go. I’m not naive to think a company cover-up may be a reason for his death. Of course, you are entitled to read and share your own opinion. 


To help people along in their search for scandalous books, I decided to make a list of possible suggestions. Hopefully this will help, but try to pick a scandal that interests you. You may think you know all you need to know about it, but you may be surprised at what you discover. Here is the list. 


1. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup
by John Carreyrou

2. A Treasury of Great American Scandals: Tantalizing True Tales of Historic Misbehavior by the Founding Fathers and Others who Let Freedom Swing
by Michael Farquhar

3. Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street
by Sheelah Kolhatkar

4. The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges — and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates
By Daniel Golden

5. Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-Year Battle against DuPont
By Robert Bilott

6. Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster
By Adam Higginbotham

7. Scandalous Women: The Lives and Loves of History’s Most Notorious Women
By Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

8. Cleopatra: A Life
By Stacy Schiff

9. How to Become a Scandal
By Laura Kipnis

10. The Hollywood Book of Scandals: The Shocking, Often Disgraceful Deeds and Affairs of Over 100 American Movie and TV Idols
By James Perish


I look forward to the readathon, and to connecting with some awesome people. I hope to see you there. Happy reading, and be blessed. 


Melissa Roe and Guide Dog Zappa the tail wagging bookworm 

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