This book was a hard read, full of the problems that one encounters in the world of the self published book, which is truly a shame because I feel that there is a story here that needs to be told. Unfortunately, There is Something in the Air, is not the best way to tell it.David Yarbrough worked managing the sampling for the Desert Chemical Depot. Yarbrough argued that they were never able to get proper samples because the equipment was (and had always been) faulty. This is very easy to believe if you have been involved in Government on any level. Yarbrough asserts that an active cover-up occurred (and continues to occur, as nothing has changed). As a result of his findings, various people higher in the organization sought to have him fired, when this failed to work, the Government charged that Yarbrough falsified samples and he was sent to jail. In the midst of this personal tragedy, Yarbrough’s oldest son overdoses on drugs.
The story is compelling, but the problems are many. The first, glaring problem, is the dialogue. Yarbrough makes everyone in this book sound both stiff, and old fashioned. I am confident that not all the people involved could have spoken as Yarbrough writes them. Obviously, Yarbrough is no writer, so this could easily have been overcome had he had a proper editor (again, the self publishing rears its ugly head). Another hurdle, focus on seemingly unimportant events. Again, a professional editor could have worked wonders. The last and largest problem is this is really three books rolled into one. The first part of the story is a professional cover-up that leads to a nervous breakdown and prison sentence. This is a stand alone book, and suffers with being lumped in with the ‘rest of the story’. The second portion is about Yarbrough’s relationship with his son, and his son’t subsequent suicide, and the emotional fall out. Another stand alone book. The last portion is prison life. Again, a stand alone book. But I don’t think Yarbrough should write any of them.
This is another lost opportunity story. A professional could do justice to Yarbrough’s life events in a way that people outside of his inner circle could appreciate and perhaps give wider audience to a larger issue which is the environmental impact of destroying (and producing?) WMDs. Do I believe Yarbrough was wrongly accused, fired, and imprisoned? You betcha. Do I follow Yarbrough’s wacky claims about the government murdering his son and other wacky conspiracy tales? Absolutely not. Keep your crazy to yourself, if you are publishing an autobiography.