cover image The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration

The Great Displacement: Climate Change and the Next American Migration

Jake Bittle. Simon & Schuster, $28.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-982178-25-3

Journalist Bittle debuts with a captivating exploration of how climate change will “reshape the demographic geography of the United States.” Drawing on interviews, Bittle vividly documents the experiences of people impacted by hurricanes, wildfires, soil erosion, flooding, and other disasters. In Big Pine Key, Fla., Patrick Garvey recounts how his tropical fruit grove and nursery were decimated by Hurricane Irma, while residents of Kinston, N.C., which suffered two catastrophic floods in the span of four years in the 1990s, shed light on the “sense of mourning” that comes with abandoning neighborhoods in a process known as “managed retreat.” Elsewhere, Bittle spotlights the experiences of white Cajuns and Indigenous tribespeople in the Louisiana bayou to show “how much culture and history stands to be lost when movement becomes a necessity.” Throughout, Bittle analyzes how economic disparity, institutional racism, and other factors contribute to the uneven impact of climate disasters, from which some can easily rebound while others find themselves in “a churning vortex of displacement and instability.” The foregrounding of individual voices adds to the book’s power and sense of urgency, and Bittle is an expert explainer of policy matters. This is a captivating look at a pressing issue. Agent: Sarah Fuentes, Fletcher and Co. (Feb.)