Poisoned Water: How the Citizens of Flint, Michigan Fought for Their Lives and Warned the Nation

Candy J. Cooper with Marc Aronson. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0232-2
Effectively chronicling the Flint water crisis, investigative reporter Cooper and author Aronson (Rising Water) unearth the complex underpinnings of this tragedy. Placing later events in context with a history of Flint’s rise from a trading village established in 1819 to a booming GM factory town in the 1930s, the authors relate how Flint became one of the most segregated cities in America through redlined neighborhood maps and white flight to the suburbs. This, in addition to factory closures and the 1970s economic downturn, changed the city’s nickname from Vehicle City to Murdertown, U.S.A. The narrative gains momentum when it turns to the crisis itself, beginning with the city’s decision to save money by building a new water pipeline to Lake Huron and using water from the heavily polluted Flint River in the meantime; the action left residents, may of whom fell below the poverty level, with astronomical water bills and foul, poisonous water. Cooper and Aronson skillfully characterize the cast of local activists, government bureaucrats, doctors, and victims who fought to unearth and reveal the truth about the poisoned water and its effects, including the various women in the forefront, dubbed “water warriors.” Powerful photographs and primary source material round out the narrative. This hard-hitting journalistic account both explains the water crisis and cautions about how future catastrophes might occur. Ages 10–up. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/16/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Children's
Book - 978-1-5476-0233-9
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