The Poisoned City
The first full account of the Flint, Michigan, water scandal, an American tragedy, with new details, from Anna Clark, the award-winning Michigan journalist who has covered the story from its beginningsWhen 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 to a source that corroded Flint’s aging lead pipes. Complaints about the foul-smelling water were dismissed: the residents of Flint—a largely poor African American city of about 100,000 people—were not seen as credible, even in matters of their own lives.It took 18 months of activism and a band of dogged outsiders to force the state to admit that the water was poisonous. But this was only after 12 people died and Flint's children suffered irreparable harm. The long battle for accountability and a humane response to this man-made disaster have only just begun.In the first full-length account of this epic failure, 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. Cities like Flint are set up to fail—and for the people who live and work in them, the consequences may be mortal.

The Poisoned City Details

TitleThe Poisoned City
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 10th, 2018
PublisherMetropolitan Books
ISBN-139781250125149
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Politics, History, Environment

The Poisoned City Review

  • Carol
    January 1, 1970
    “Thousands have lived without love; not one without water.”—W.H. Auden"The short review: Everyone should read this book. All readers interested in learning why the disaster in Flint happened. Plus, all other US readers who couldn’t care less about Flint or its problems. A 2016 study by the National Resources Defense Council found that fifty-three hundred US water systems were in violation of federal lead rules. Now for the longer review.I remember first hearing about Flint’s water system problem “Thousands have lived without love; not one without water.”—W.H. Auden"The short review: Everyone should read this book. All readers interested in learning why the disaster in Flint happened. Plus, all other US readers who couldn’t care less about Flint or its problems. A 2016 study by the National Resources Defense Council found that fifty-three hundred US water systems were in violation of federal lead rules. Now for the longer review.I remember first hearing about Flint’s water system problems from Rachel Maddow in December 2015-January 2016, and being horrified. Then the story was everywhere for approximately 6 months. And then it wasn’t. I never ceased being curious about how Flint’s water supply became and stayed contaminated, and I suspected that what occurred in Flint revealed risks not limited to Flint. Articles and interviews on the subject in 2016 or so seemed to be comfortable stopping with the following oft-repeated but incomplete version of the story: An interim, appointed city manager made a careless, cost-cutting decision to change water sources. As a result, Flint residents, including kids, were exposed to lead in their municipal water system for eighteen months. Lead poisoning does permanent damage. Residents were lied to by multiple layers of politicians, from appointed city managers up to agencies reporting to Governor Rick Snyder, and Gov. Snyder himself. Flint residents’ repeatedly expressed concerns about poor water quality were ignored and, once the crisis was confirmed, the solution came excruciatingly slowly. Many articles repeated a statement that was untrue: that the Flint River was contaminated or toxic. The problem was never the Flint River. It was Flint’s failure to comply with water processing standards that caused the contamination. I haven’t vetted the-below linked timeline from CNN, but no obvious errors jumped out at me, and it’s very useful for readers interested in The Poisoned City for a couple of reasons. First, a timeline reveals what narratives sometimes fail to – just how excruciatingly long it takes us to identify and solve highly urgent problems, if even a person or two serves as a roadblock or source of delay. Those persons running for ostensibly-minor offices, whose names appear at the end of a very long ballot each October and you have no idea what the office-holder does or who the candidates are? Those people are critical to your local experience. Second, you can read this timeline several times and conclude that you still have no idea what happened. Anna Clark’s book is the answer. https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/04/us/fli...Anna Clark’s The Poisoned City is a masterful, efficient account of Flint, from the 1700s to the present. She covers, in particular, the short-term and long-term impacts on Flint of housing segregation, including General Motors’ segregated housing developments offering favorable terms; Harry Truman’s encouragement of General Motors and other manufacturers to move their plants from downtowns to suburbs – in the name of national security --; Michigan’s open records law (that doesn’t apply to its governor or legislature); the details of the federal Lead and Copper Rule – what it requires and how certain cities, including Flint, manipulate their data to claim compliance with its standards; the appropriateness and use of unelected emergency managers and their impact on citizens’ voting rights; and, finally, the impact of successive reductions in headcount of Michigan journalists at just the moment when the Flint story sat ready to be uncovered. By the time Clark reveals that, in addition to everything else, Michigan politicans concealed the existence of the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease in its water, the reader is not at all surprised. If this suggests that The Poisoned City is an accumulated research dump, it is not. Clark presents pertinent facts with the skill of a feature writer. She never goes down a rabbit hole. She has a purpose for every fact she provides, and those facts are directly relevant to the water crisis. Every statement has a corresponding endnote available for readers to review for verification and additional information. Hence, the core of the book is actually 2/3 of its page count, and the last 1/3 is comprised of those supporting end notes, which are well worth reading as you go. This is as much of a page-turner as non-fiction can be. Nothing was inevitable about this tragedy. As Clark notes, other cities with declining populations and aged infrastructure made a multitude of different choices and avoided putting their public water systems at risk. She calls out Lansing and Madison, Wisconsin in particular, as examples of successful approaches. Her last chapter offers suggestions, but also identifies changes that have occurred since the tragedy. Michigan’s emergency manager statute, for example, has been changed in positive ways. Clark is a top-flight story-teller, and her every sentence is supported by fact. That’s the best reason of all for reading The Poisoned City.Thanks to Metropolitan Books and Net Galley for offering me a copy of this excellent book.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    A woman who was a high school classmate posted on Facebook about her work distributing bottled water in Flint, Michigan through the American Red Cross. Day after day people came for a case of water. The had to make daily trips because they were only allowed one case a day. The people needed an I.D. to get the water. It was the middle of a brutal winter, and many of the people were elderly or disabled or had no cars. Church pastors came, hoping to get cases of water to deliver to their shut-ins w A woman who was a high school classmate posted on Facebook about her work distributing bottled water in Flint, Michigan through the American Red Cross. Day after day people came for a case of water. The had to make daily trips because they were only allowed one case a day. The people needed an I.D. to get the water. It was the middle of a brutal winter, and many of the people were elderly or disabled or had no cars. Church pastors came, hoping to get cases of water to deliver to their shut-ins who could not make it out.Lori told me that the people were uninformed about the toxic water and how to be safe. Actually, the Red Cross workers didn't know what the Health Department standards would recommend. Could one bathe in the water? Use it to mix baby formula? Filters and water purifiers were distributed, but not everyone knew how to install or maintain them, and the filters only fit on certain kinds of faucets. Setting up the warehouses and creating a system from scratch was 'chaotic,' 'hell'. Some warehouses were overstocked while others emptied quickly leaving people without water.It was heartbreaking, Lori said.Flint once had the highest per-capita incomes in the nation. GM founder and Flint mayor Charles Stewart Mott developed a renowned school system. The city boasted the Flint Symphony Orchestra and the Flint Institute of Arts. My father-in-law grew up in Flint and worked for Fisher Body. His widowed mother found work at GM and participated in the Woman's Brigade during the Sit-Down Strike. His eldest son opened his professional offices in Flint and raised his family there.When GM closed its auto plants over twenty thousand residents left. Businesses closed. The city tax base was gone and revenue sharing was sidelined to balance the state budget. An economic turndown and mortgage crisis devastated the country.Still, Flint was Michigan's seventh largest city with 49,000 residents. The community was not down yet and neighborhood civic programs for change and betterment were led by the University of Michigan Flint, Habitat for Humanity, and church groups.The state assigned an Emergency Manager to oversee Flint and solve its budget crisis. Buying treated water from Detroit Water and Sewerage was costly. It was decided to switch to the Karegnodi Water Authority, drawing water from Lake Huron, and process the water by reopening Flint's water treatment plant. Until the new source of water was in place they would draw water from the Flint River. The state's environmental agency had warned that using Flint River water was a bad idea. The decision was based on cost-effectiveness. As the Detroit Free Press observed, the state had "voted for a business person" when they voted for Governor Snyder, the "bottom line" being his priority. "Governing a state as well as governing a nation is not like running a business. He and the people of Flint have found out the hard way."Residents complained of bad smelling coffee-colored tap water, skin rashes, and illnesses. Children lost hair, suffered aches and pains. For eighteen months, the city, state and federal governments delayed action, claiming the water was safe.Michigan is surrounded by the Great Lakes which hold one-fifth of the world's freshwater yet Flint residents were drinking tap water that was toxic. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality had suffered staff and budget cuts although monitoring the largest number of community water systems in the country. People came down with Legionnaire's disease for years but there was no public notice about the outbreak. Forty-six patients at McLaren Hospital in Flint became ill and ten died of the disease. Four years passed before a Wayne State University investigation traced the outbreak to the switch to Flint River water and corrosion in pipes. Every governing authority had failed the people of Flint. Water quality tests were skewed to lessen the amount of lead found. Citizens with the highest amount of lead found their test results eliminated from the results. In 2015 the State Integrity Report Card from the Center for Public Integrity ranked Michigan dead LAST. Snyder signed bills "that did more to conceal the actions of state government," including political donors. Journalism was undergoing deep cuts, with fewer local journalists employed--a loss of local watchdogs.The Poisoned City puts the crisis in the context of the history of Flint, the development of water sources, and legislation for environmental protection. It tells the story of the grass-roots activists who demanded justice. And how the media brought the story to the public, beginning with Michigan Public Radio which first reported the problem to Rachel Maddow who brought it to national attention.Liability for causing environmental hazards rarely punishes the polluter. In the case of Love Canal, the New York State neighborhood poisoned by Hooker Chemicals' leaking toxic waste storage, the courts held Hooker responsible for cleanups but not punitive damages for the harm the residents suffered. The law requires evidence of intent to cause harm. In Flint, lawsuits were filed over the poisoned water, Legionella, damaged plumbing, lost property values and paying for water only fit, as one said, to flush toilets.The devaluation of Flint, mostly poor and African American, was evident when the EPA made the decision not to provide financial aid for buying filters because then other cities would demand them and Flint was not "the kind of community we want to go out on a limb for."Children were being poisoned by lead in the city water lines. Dr. Hanna-Attisha studied the records of children treated at Hurley Medical Center in Flint and discovered a rise in blood-lead levels in 27,000 children. There is no 'cure' for the damage from lead poisoning.In 2016, Governor Snyder admitted, "Government failed you--federal, state, and local leaders--by breaking the trust you placed in us. I am sorry most of all that I let you down. You deserve better." High ranking Michigan officials have legal immunity.A class-action lawsuit did settle a deal which included $87 million for Flint to locate and replace water lines by 2020 at no cost to the homeowners. Criminal investigations brought indictments of authorities who had falsified or buried information or obstructed investigations.Before Flint, Washington, D.C. struggled with lead in their water. Another predominately African American community was allowed to be poisoned for years before the issue was addressed.Two American cities have been proactive about removing lead water pipes, Madison, WS and Lansing, MI. Lansing had the advantage of a city-owned system, The Board of Water and Light, and was able to completely overhaul the system, removing all lead pipes. Mayor Virge Bernero said, "...the poor suffer the most...the rich can insulate themselves...they can move out...Though ultimately, when we have a complete and utter infrastructure failure...no one is safe."Recently, the distribution of bottled water to Flint was ended. The water lead levels have been brought to standards. But the residents no longer trust the authorities to protect them.Nestle', who draws Michigan spring water for $200 a year for resale will provide several months of water to Flint. Actors Will and Jaden Smith have been providing water to Flint.Flint is not the only city with lead pipes. And I shudder to consider what lies ahead if we are not able to address the aging infrastructure of America.I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a huge ‘wake-up’ call for all of us who take for granted that the water that comes out of our taps is safe. We trust that our Public Works departments are doing their jobs to ensure that the water is treated correctly—and that the County, the State, and Federal Government will do their jobs to ensure that all municipalities provide safe water to their residents. What happened in Flint was caused by catastrophic failures at every level of Government.Flint has fallen on hard times, far fro This is a huge ‘wake-up’ call for all of us who take for granted that the water that comes out of our taps is safe. We trust that our Public Works departments are doing their jobs to ensure that the water is treated correctly—and that the County, the State, and Federal Government will do their jobs to ensure that all municipalities provide safe water to their residents. What happened in Flint was caused by catastrophic failures at every level of Government.Flint has fallen on hard times, far from the days when its residents earned above average pay due to the plethora of auto factories. Many of the plants have closed. Residents moved to other cities for jobs. The State slashed revenue sharing. And it certainly didn’t help that a majority of its residents are people of color. However, what does endure is a great community. I have participated in several of the 10K races (The Crim) held in the city and the residents are AWESOME in their support. It is this sense of community that helped the residents to organize, demonstrate and demand action from their governmental entities. It was the community that worked with scientists (Mark Edwards from Virginia Tech) to sample water throughout the city.One of the heroes in this story is Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician that collated the data regarding lead levels in Flint’s children. And much can be said for the role journalists played in bringing the story to the public—particularly Rachel Maddow for her national exposure of Flint’s water problems.But people died from Legionaire’s Disease. Pets died from drinking the water. People were sickened. And children will live from the effects of lead poisoning for the rest of their lives. None of us should take our water for granted—ever, ever again.
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  • Robin Bonne
    January 1, 1970
    What happened to Flint, Michigan? This book answers the big questions surrounding the Flint Water Crisis.The author sorted out all the details and explains clearly what happened. I appreciate all the research that went into this book to provide a clear explanation of what is going on in Flint. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this ebook in exchange for an unbiased review.
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  • Cosmo
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review. This book is phenomenal, and I believe anyone who wants to get a good understanding of the water crisis in Flint should read this book. It's incredibly well-researched and provides background on all the factors behind the water crisis and talks about systemic racism, the history behind lead pipes, and environmental racism that has lead to POC being the most harmed from environmental Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for providing an advanced copy of this book in return for an honest review. This book is phenomenal, and I believe anyone who wants to get a good understanding of the water crisis in Flint should read this book. It's incredibly well-researched and provides background on all the factors behind the water crisis and talks about systemic racism, the history behind lead pipes, and environmental racism that has lead to POC being the most harmed from environmental disasters. Everyone should read this book and be reminded that man-made environmental crisis' are prevalent even when they are not talked about. Phenomenal book, I think everyone should read it.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    A well written, organized, and researched account of the water crisis in Flint. Clark does an excellent job providing the reader with an understanding of the situation that is all-encompassing of the contemporary and historically rooted issues that culminated into the many problems of Flint's water crisis. She provides historical background on all of these elements - from contributing factors such as the presence of lead in our society and racism in Flint's history, to the history of activism an A well written, organized, and researched account of the water crisis in Flint. Clark does an excellent job providing the reader with an understanding of the situation that is all-encompassing of the contemporary and historically rooted issues that culminated into the many problems of Flint's water crisis. She provides historical background on all of these elements - from contributing factors such as the presence of lead in our society and racism in Flint's history, to the history of activism and social justice in Flint and the rest of the US. Clark makes a call to action, asking our governments to be proactive in preventing catastrophes when it comes to providing citizens with drinking water. An underlining theme: its the communities, activists and individuals who are smart enough to learn from history and take steps in avoiding mistakes of the past - but people in government are not so intelligent. Clark's telling of the Flint water crisis notes how our communities are shining in response to disaster, while people in local and state governments are failing those communities by refusing to take necessary preventative actions.
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  • Karen Nelson
    January 1, 1970
    Anna Clark's "A Poisoned City" is such a well researched and damning account of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, reveals who is responsible, and what led to it. It truly is a sickening account of how poor decisions by “leadership” and greed can come together and affect children and families for something so basic as water. I have been following this crisis since Rachel Maddow brought it to our collective attention, and must say this book was hard to read at times. Not that it isn’t eloquently e Anna Clark's "A Poisoned City" is such a well researched and damning account of the Flint, Michigan water crisis, reveals who is responsible, and what led to it. It truly is a sickening account of how poor decisions by “leadership” and greed can come together and affect children and families for something so basic as water. I have been following this crisis since Rachel Maddow brought it to our collective attention, and must say this book was hard to read at times. Not that it isn’t eloquently executed. It is. Not that it isn’t true. It is. Not that it isn’t fascinating. It is. It is that in the United States of America in 2018, children still don’t have safe water, and Washington doesn’t seem to care.I will be recommending this to as many people as possible, and likely using it as a book club selection for a group I facilitate. The more people who are aware of the politics of water, the better. I can’t say enough positives about this book. I am just so sorry it had to be written. A solid five stars. Thank you to #NetGalley and the publisher for a pre-publication ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Netgalley and Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books for the advanced reader copy of this book. I recommend this well-researched and thoughtful investigation into the recent Flint, MI water crisis. Before reading this, I would have ascribed the Flint water fiasco mainly to government bureaucracy and ineptitude, but I now also see the systemic racism laid out by the author and wonder why I didn’t consider that factor before. It does seem it would have played out differentl and with a lot more in Thanks to Netgalley and Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books for the advanced reader copy of this book. I recommend this well-researched and thoughtful investigation into the recent Flint, MI water crisis. Before reading this, I would have ascribed the Flint water fiasco mainly to government bureaucracy and ineptitude, but I now also see the systemic racism laid out by the author and wonder why I didn’t consider that factor before. It does seem it would have played out differentl and with a lot more interest if it had been a less marginalized community. Many parts of the book are shocking, but perhaps most disturbing is the kind of similar doomsday scenarios you can imagine playing out across the country, in so many cities. Definitely a worthwhile read.
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  • Giulia
    January 1, 1970
    Chock full of information and details on what actually happened in Flint, Michigan when the city decided to stop using Detroit water to avoid the high cost. It is very disheartening to read that fellow human beings really did not care that other humans were basically being poisoned from their water supply-it is also hard to believe that could happen. But, it did happen and the author of this book, Anna Clark, does a great job explaining the whole sad story from the lead poisonings to the legionn Chock full of information and details on what actually happened in Flint, Michigan when the city decided to stop using Detroit water to avoid the high cost. It is very disheartening to read that fellow human beings really did not care that other humans were basically being poisoned from their water supply-it is also hard to believe that could happen. But, it did happen and the author of this book, Anna Clark, does a great job explaining the whole sad story from the lead poisonings to the legionnaires disease that spread after Flint started using Flint River water through their old water system. I had no past knowledge on what had happened to Flint other than people were getting sick from the water supply-this book was great in filling me in on pretty much the whole scandal. Poor people always get the shaft that is just the way it is, however, when it comes to water eventually the problems will even reach the rich. This is a societal issue-noone can live with out clean safe water.Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the chance to read and review.
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  • Grace Lerner
    January 1, 1970
    "The lack of attention spoke to the level of importance we ascribed 'those' people in Flint at the time, not that they didn't exist." (The report from the Commission investigating the crisis.)Anna Clark's "A Poisoned City" is a damning, thoughtful, and thorough account of the Flint water crisis, what led to it, and the systems (and people) that failed along the way. At times I found myself shaking my head as I read, dumbfounded by the poor decisions, lack of attention paid to the crisis, and bia "The lack of attention spoke to the level of importance we ascribed 'those' people in Flint at the time, not that they didn't exist." (The report from the Commission investigating the crisis.)Anna Clark's "A Poisoned City" is a damning, thoughtful, and thorough account of the Flint water crisis, what led to it, and the systems (and people) that failed along the way. At times I found myself shaking my head as I read, dumbfounded by the poor decisions, lack of attention paid to the crisis, and biases demonstrated by leadership.I plan on recommending this to as many people as possible, especially those ignorant to the situation in Flint or those looking to learn more. The book will leave you more informed, but not much more hopeful that history won't continue to repeat itself (as it already has time and again). The people of Flint still don't have safe drinking water and the distribution of free bottled water has ended. And so it goes....Many thanks to Netgalley and Henry Holt for early access to this book. My opinion is my own.
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  • Xe Sands
    January 1, 1970
    Everyone - EVERYONE - should read this.
  • Musiclib
    January 1, 1970
    Clark's journalistic telling of the circumstances surrounding the poisoning of the citizens of the city of Flint shines a needed light on the historical trends that, combined with more concern for money saved than people, put Flint in the path of this tragedy long before the water switch. Heavily researched and relying on sources such as FOIA'ed emails, government reports, and interviews, Clark also highlights how decisions made during the quick push to populate Flint during GM's booming years i Clark's journalistic telling of the circumstances surrounding the poisoning of the citizens of the city of Flint shines a needed light on the historical trends that, combined with more concern for money saved than people, put Flint in the path of this tragedy long before the water switch. Heavily researched and relying on sources such as FOIA'ed emails, government reports, and interviews, Clark also highlights how decisions made during the quick push to populate Flint during GM's booming years in the early 20th century contributed to the water crisis. Published as the preliminary hearings began for the state and local officials who have been charged - and just months before the 2018 midterm elections, where the state Attorney General is running for governor - this book is a wonderful if yet painful telling of the suffering of Flint, who still must filter their water today.
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  • Latisha Joujoute
    January 1, 1970
    " There seemed to be enemies everywhere. People in power were working harder to protect themselves and their instituations than do what was right, he felt which seemed to him to be an utter betrayal of public trust." I am shocked by the government of Flint and the ways they tried to cover it up. This is an exact example of how corrupted politicians are and how they only care about themselves.
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  • Morgan Schulman
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review. We all know how bad the water has been in Flint for the past few years, but this book lays out that it's actually been going on for decades, and has designed to specifically target African-Americans. This is already really shocking, but the level of historical detail and pages and pages and pages of facts and statistics really bring home how racism and corporate greed have allowed an entire community of people to raise their I was given an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review. We all know how bad the water has been in Flint for the past few years, but this book lays out that it's actually been going on for decades, and has designed to specifically target African-Americans. This is already really shocking, but the level of historical detail and pages and pages and pages of facts and statistics really bring home how racism and corporate greed have allowed an entire community of people to raise their children sick, with no real action from the people who trust to keep our water clean. Very important read in 2018.
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  • Paula Lyle
    January 1, 1970
    This is an angry book and thank God for that. There are so many things that contributed to the problems in Flint, Michigan that it is almost beyond understanding. It seems especially noteworthy in the current climate where the EPA is protecting businesses and ignoring and under-reporting danger to the general public. Way too few people were actually held accountable for their actions, which should scare the rest of us. As the book makes very clear, there was a perfect storm of events in Flint, b This is an angry book and thank God for that. There are so many things that contributed to the problems in Flint, Michigan that it is almost beyond understanding. It seems especially noteworthy in the current climate where the EPA is protecting businesses and ignoring and under-reporting danger to the general public. Way too few people were actually held accountable for their actions, which should scare the rest of us. As the book makes very clear, there was a perfect storm of events in Flint, but there are lots of other types of infrastructure which is being taped together or ignored altogether. To imagine that the problems encountered in Flint are confined to that area is laughable. It will be heartbreaking to find out whose turn will be next.I received an eARC from NetGalley.
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  • Leah Angstman
    January 1, 1970
    My review of this book is coming to a major outlet. Will update at that time.
  • Jan
    January 1, 1970
    A ten hour car ride later, this book is filled with the truth about what happened in Flint, Michigan. It could happen anywhere there are lead water pipes. It should be required reading for anyone taking classes regarding the environment.
  • Monique Stanton
    January 1, 1970
    Ms. Clark’s book should be mandatory reading in government, civics, and history classes. Really everyone should read it. It gives a deep understanding of the disinvestment in cities, segregation, and water. The Flint water crisis is still happening today and the book sheds detailed light on how local, state, and federal officials all played a part in this nightmare. I highly recommend it.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    At its heart this is a well researched and well written book on the Flint Water Crisis. It goes much deeper than the water crisis though, reaching back to explain the history and systemic racism that Flint has faced in the past decades. It was heartbreaking, illuminating, and hard to put down.
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  • Mike He
    January 1, 1970
    As President Ronald Reagan said in his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1981, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." The Poisoned City describes in great details how bureaucracy and inefficiency on the part of the government have led to one tragedy after another in the city of Flint when people's right for safe and clean drinking water was violated and abused. Author Anna Clark deserves a huge credit in exposing, through extensive rese As President Ronald Reagan said in his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1981, "In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." The Poisoned City describes in great details how bureaucracy and inefficiency on the part of the government have led to one tragedy after another in the city of Flint when people's right for safe and clean drinking water was violated and abused. Author Anna Clark deserves a huge credit in exposing, through extensive research, what really happened to the lead poisoned water crisis in Flint and how citizens, activists, journalists and environmental protectionists work together to overcome difficulties and fight back for their inalienable rights in life.
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  • Leanne
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. So informative- everyone should read this book. It is so sad, and truly scary!
  • Argum
    January 1, 1970
    I won a free copy of this book from Goodreads FirstReads.I really cant say enough about this book. I live in Ann Arbor and so watched this develop in real time on the local news. Dr. Mona is a fellow alumna of SPH so got lots of coverage in that public health community as well. And I STILL learned tons in this book. It is very engaging and weaves the full story of modern Flint water and racist urban planning a century ago. It is also the story of Vehicle City and how one company can make or brea I won a free copy of this book from Goodreads FirstReads.I really cant say enough about this book. I live in Ann Arbor and so watched this develop in real time on the local news. Dr. Mona is a fellow alumna of SPH so got lots of coverage in that public health community as well. And I STILL learned tons in this book. It is very engaging and weaves the full story of modern Flint water and racist urban planning a century ago. It is also the story of Vehicle City and how one company can make or break many a town and that these ticking time bombs could be anywhere. Really great for anyone interested in current events, path dependence, urban planning, race in America, public health, and government. Just great.
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  • Michael Webb
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first real journalistic narrative of the Flint water crisis. Clark covers a broad swath of territory here, detailing not only the water crisis and the decisions that led to it, but also some of the history of the city and ties it all together showing why the crisis occurred and the systemic failures that allowed it to happen.As with many texts covering disasters of this type, I find Clark is strongest in her argument that the hollowing out of the cities in favor of first suburbs and This is the first real journalistic narrative of the Flint water crisis. Clark covers a broad swath of territory here, detailing not only the water crisis and the decisions that led to it, but also some of the history of the city and ties it all together showing why the crisis occurred and the systemic failures that allowed it to happen.As with many texts covering disasters of this type, I find Clark is strongest in her argument that the hollowing out of the cities in favor of first suburbs and now exurbs combined with a mindless "no new taxes" ideology has led to failing infrastructure in the older cities which disproportionately affects lower income people who cannot afford to move to the increasingly distant and expensive ring cities that have been built around the old city centers. Ultimately, this is a recurring crisis that will only get worse as time passes in cities of medium size like Flint that were large enough to create a large infrastructure in their heyday, but now have less gravity pulling younger people back to the center.On the primary subject at hand though, the narrative here is readable and engaging. Clark lays the heaviest blame for the crisis on both a failure of the appropriate health agencies to use scrupulous, scientifically sound methods of measurement, and on the state of MI itself for allowing for the creation of the undemocratic Emergency Manager position from which the decision to switch from the proven, safe Detroit water supply to an unproven, and ultimately, hazardous local supply that required the use of aging and hastily recommissioned sanitation systems that, when combined with a lack of anti-corrosive measures, created the disastrous health crisis.
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  • Lindsey Z
    January 1, 1970
    Clark’s book is impressively detailed and covers the Flint water crisis dating back to the founding of Flint as a city. Even though Clark calls out the individual players of the city and the state who falsified tests, neglected to do their jobs, and minimized the damage that lead in the water had on the citizens of Flint, she also points to the larger systemic issues at play. She documents the history of Flint’s housing segregation and the more general history of environmental racism--a term tha Clark’s book is impressively detailed and covers the Flint water crisis dating back to the founding of Flint as a city. Even though Clark calls out the individual players of the city and the state who falsified tests, neglected to do their jobs, and minimized the damage that lead in the water had on the citizens of Flint, she also points to the larger systemic issues at play. She documents the history of Flint’s housing segregation and the more general history of environmental racism--a term that I learned about for the first time in this book and one I think gives us better vocabulary with which to discuss instances like what happened in Flint--that is pervasive in American society. Those historical reflections and framing of the crisis were more appealing to me than the play by play of emails, press conferences, and meetings. Although she does highlight a few folks who were personally affected by Flint’s dirty water and governmental neglect, I wanted those people’s voices to be more at the heart of the story. I think there are so many more stories to tell from that perspective, but they simply didn’t make it into this book. I applaud Clark for meticulously recording seemingly every plot point and communication (or lack of) on the timeline of the crisis. Her writing is clear and straightforward but does leave something to be desired in terms of flare and evoking emotion and empathy. This book overall read like a lengthy journalism article about the scandal with an often short shrifted attempt to humanize the problem.[I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.]
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    An impressive book!It is a well-researched and well-written history of the crisis of the Flint, Michigan water disaster of the last few years. It documents the history of the city, its incompetent attempt to change it water management system, the disaster that decision created and the horribly corrupt manner that the problem was dealt with. Its a tragic story with implications that are still being played out. As unsettling as what happened in Flint, there are two messages that I will remember. O An impressive book!It is a well-researched and well-written history of the crisis of the Flint, Michigan water disaster of the last few years. It documents the history of the city, its incompetent attempt to change it water management system, the disaster that decision created and the horribly corrupt manner that the problem was dealt with. Its a tragic story with implications that are still being played out. As unsettling as what happened in Flint, there are two messages that I will remember. One is the fact that disasters like this are potentially lurking in many other urban areas of this country where old infrastructure is failing at a rapid rate. We need to be proactive to this situation. The other is the environmental racism aspect to the problem and the complexity involved with that issue.A lot to think about and I encourage those who want to educate themselves about these problems to read this book.I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway for this honest review.
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  • Cole Swafford
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank Metropolitan Books for a free advance reader’s copy of this book. I greatly appreciate my opportunity to read and review this book. The water crisis in Flint was a mystery to me before reading this book. We all know there is a water crisis in Flint- but what does that mean? How and why is a city of over 100,000 people suffering? Anna Clark shows that the water crisis is not the first difficulty Flint has faced, and it may not be its last. Clark dives into the very beginning I would like to thank Metropolitan Books for a free advance reader’s copy of this book. I greatly appreciate my opportunity to read and review this book. The water crisis in Flint was a mystery to me before reading this book. We all know there is a water crisis in Flint- but what does that mean? How and why is a city of over 100,000 people suffering? Anna Clark shows that the water crisis is not the first difficulty Flint has faced, and it may not be its last. Clark dives into the very beginnings of Flint’s founding and then brings us to Michigan today. Anna Clark works well to detail the situation Flint, Michigan is in today.
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  • Adam Kanter
    January 1, 1970
    Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was fascinating from start to finish. Extremely well researched and organized, it paints a perfect picture of exactly what contributed to the crisis. The most telling part for me was that government offices were supplying themselves with a different water source while simultaneously telling the citizens of Flint that their water was safe, despite ample evidence it wasn’t. This was one of many stories that shocked me th Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This book was fascinating from start to finish. Extremely well researched and organized, it paints a perfect picture of exactly what contributed to the crisis. The most telling part for me was that government offices were supplying themselves with a different water source while simultaneously telling the citizens of Flint that their water was safe, despite ample evidence it wasn’t. This was one of many stories that shocked me throughout the book. Great book that recounts the story of the ongoing crisis, and offers solutions on how to fix it, both through policy and community intervention. Highly recommend.
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  • Catie
    January 1, 1970
    "By 2017, 52 percent of Michigan's black residents and 16 percent of Latinos had lived in cities governed by unelected authorities.""Hazardous waste facilities were consistently located in places where people of color tended to live. This fact is so persistent that race is the very best indicator of the presence of pollutants, even when controlled for other factors such as income and property values.""Infrastructure, the ties that literally bind us, one to another, requires our consistent care a "By 2017, 52 percent of Michigan's black residents and 16 percent of Latinos had lived in cities governed by unelected authorities.""Hazardous waste facilities were consistently located in places where people of color tended to live. This fact is so persistent that race is the very best indicator of the presence of pollutants, even when controlled for other factors such as income and property values.""Infrastructure, the ties that literally bind us, one to another, requires our consistent care and attention."
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  • Susie
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book. So very sad and intriguing. The thing I will say about it, is that the author jumps around in time a lot, so it is a little hard to follow at times. Other than that, she supports her claims with a ton of evidence, and seems very knowledgeable about the travesty that is the Flint Water Crisis.
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