Synopses & Reviews
When the people of Flint, Michigan, turned on their faucets in April 2014, the water pouring out was poisoned with lead and other toxins.
Through a series of disastrous decisions, the state government had switched the city's water supply to a source that corroded Flint's aging lead pipes. Complaints about the foul-smelling water were dismissed: the residents of Flint, mostly poor and African American, were not seen as credible, even in matters of their own lives.
It took eighteen months of activism by city residents and a band of dogged outsiders to force the state to admit that the water was poisonous. By that time, twelve people had died and Flint's children had suffered irreparable harm. The long battle for accountability and a humane response to this man-made disaster has only just begun.
In the first full account of this American tragedy, Anna Clark's The Poisoned City recounts the gripping story of Flint's poisoned water through the people who caused it, suffered from it, and exposed it. It is a chronicle of one town, but could also be about any American city, all made precarious by the neglect of infrastructure and the erosion of democratic decision making. Places like Flint are set up to fail — and for the people who live and work in them, the consequences can be fatal.
"A complex, exquisitely
detailed account... A potent cautionary tale of urban neglect and
indifference... Clark goes far beyond the immediate crisis...to explain 'decades of negligence'....She warns that other declining American cities are similarly
threatened." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Clark writes powerfully
about the environmental consequences of a shrinking city, about how
Flint's financial decline drove the decision to switch drinking-water
sources....She's most effective describing the racism that shaped
Flint." The New York Times Book Review
devastating, this account is also inspiring in its coverage of the role
of Flint's 'lionhearted residents' and their grassroots activism,
community organizing, and independent investigation." Publishers Weekly
"Incisive and informed....Clark takes no prisoners,
naming all the names and presenting the confirming research. 'Neglect, '
she warns, 'is not a passive force in American cities, but an
aggressive one.'" Booklist (Starred Review)
About the Author
Anna Clark is a journalist living in Detroit. Her writing has appeared in
The New York Times,
The Washington Post,
Politico, the Columbia Journalism Review, Next City, and other publications. Anna edited
A Detroit Anthology, a Michigan Notable Book, and she had been a
writer-in-residence in Detroit public schools as part of the InsideOut
Literary Arts program. She has also been a Fulbright fellow in Nairobi,
Kenya, and a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of
Michigan. Her books include
The Poisoned City and