Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy
“An exceptional work of journalism. Clark delivers a thorough account of a still-evolving public health crisis, one with an unmistakable racial subtext . . . Her book is a deeply reported account of catastrophic mismanagement. But it’s also a celebration of civic engagement, a tribute to those who are fighting back against governmental malpractice.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
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, 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.
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, and other publications. Anna edited A Detroit Anthology, a Michigan Notable Book, and she has 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.
The Poisoned City has been adopted for First-Year Experience program at:
Rider University (NJ)
Beyond the Book
Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook!