LIFE WAS GOOD: THE CLAUDIA PETERSON STORY is a moving portrait of one American family whose lives were tragically altered by the misfortune of living near the Nevada Test Site where more than a thousand nuclear weapons were detonated from 1951 to 1992. At the center of the story is Claudia Peterson, a 40 year old supermarket cashier in St. George, Utah. "I thought I would grow up, get married, have children and live happily every after," Claudia says in the film's opening sequence. "I was living the American dream."
In telling Claudia's story, the film unravels a single strand from the tangle of cold war history to reveal a stark personal history of the atomic bomb and the damage inflicted on the lives of the citizens it was designed to protect. It chronicles Claudia's life from her seemingly idyllic childhood in the rural town where she grew up; through her adult realization that the threat to her family's health and happiness came from her own government's atomic testing program; to her transformation from docile Mormon housewife into political activist. Weaving together historical footage with a highly personal account, LIFE WAS GOOD offers fresh insight into the long-term consequences of international politics on individual lives.
Produced for NHK HI-VISION in association with KCTS, Seattle
1996 / Documentary / 27 Minutes