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Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,152 ratings  ·  208 reviews
Prize-winning poet and journalist Eliza Griswold's Amity and Prosperity is an expose on how fracking shattered a rural Pennsylvania town, and how one lifelong resident brought the story into the national spotlight. This is an incredible true account of investigative journalism and a devastating indictment of energy politics in America.

Stacey Haney, a lifelong resident of A
...more
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,152 ratings  ·  208 reviews


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Diane S ☔
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019, 5000-2019
One of the Pulitzer winners for this year, and though I often don't agree with their choices, this was a worthy one. Fracking, Pennsylvania and a town Amity, with few employment opportunities. Just the kind of place these natural gas companies like to plunder. They pretty much descend on those that are desperate money, sell them a bill of goods, insist they are environmentally friendly, and promise big financial returns.

This centers on a few families in Amity, a woman, divorced mother of two, wh
...more
Darlene
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
"The 'Appalachian problem' doesn't seem to me to be political, economic or social. I believe
it is a spiritual problem and its name is greed."
- 'Our Appalachia: An Oral History' , edited by
Laura Shackelford and Bill Weinberg


Eliza Griswold, the journalist who wrote this book, 'Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America', was awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for general non-fiction. In an interview, she described how she came to report on this story which centers on two towns
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Trish
This scientific and legal drama recounts the harrowing ordeal of several families suffering terribly from toxic chemicals leaching from storage pools of fracking waste into their drinking water and into the air in western Pennsylvania. New Yorker staff writer and journalist Eliza Griswold has excellent instincts for a story and she has honed her skills so that unwieldy real life is put into a clear timeline; we not only understand, we are desperate to learn the outcome.

It is nearly impossible
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Pam Patterson
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My rating may be somewhat skewed because I was engrossed by the story of how a new extraction industry impacted the people I went to middle and high school with. Some of the non-sequiturs in the story telling annoyed me, but the writing captures what I know to be true about the people of Amity and southern Washington County. Amity and Prosperity lays out the real challenges and conflicts facing Americans in resource rich but economically challenged regions of the country. Unfortunately, it is cl ...more
Alex Joyner
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There were other impacts from the fracking boom and the Haneys were feeling them. Over the course of eight years, as Eliza Griswold tracks this family in this powerful book, they lose their health, their animals, their house, and their trust in just about everyone except a pair of crusading lawyers who tilt at the windmills of industry and the government agencies that should be protecting them.

Amity and Prosperity is the kind of propulsive read that marks our great story-telling journalist/write
...more
Caren
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I squeezed this excellent piece of longform investigative journalism into my schedule. It won a Pulitzer this year for a reason. The book reads like an environmental legal thriller, but the story is entirely true. The author spent six years of research and interviews to piece together the story. In her "notes on sources" at the end of the book, she says she had been in Nigeria, a place where "some of the poorest people in the world live on some of the most resource-rich land " (p.307), when she ...more
KC
In this Pulitzer Prize winner novel, fracking takes the controversial center. Maimed and dying animals, repulsive odors, and chronically ill children plague three families of Amity and Prosperity, Pennsylvania. Years embroiled in an on-going lawsuit against the city and federal government as well as the local drilling company, this story shows how many hope to make a profit at the expense of many Americans regardless of the health cost. Truly alarming and horrifying. For those who enjoy Erin Bro ...more
Erok
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you live around Pittsburgh, you need to read this book.
It reads like a novel, following one family who "lost" - a sacrifice for extractive industries. The book lays out how daily hardships, even small ones, can add up to destroy a home. Lots of Pittsburgh content in this one, with a shocking/not shocking description of how the DEP and EPA operate hand in hand with industry.
Barb
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was probably more of a 4.5. Great book, sad/frustrating story but well told.
Edward Sullivan
A powerful, revealing look at how fracking shattered a rural Pennsylvania town, and how one of its lifelong residents brought national attention to the story.
Laura Jean
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a weird background going into this book. My ex husband has worked for the State Environmental Department for the state of TN for over 20 years. I knew coming into this book the sorts of things he ran into in rural areas of that state, including locals dumping hazardous waste on family farms. So I knew that state agencies don't always have the resources to investigate and enforce the state laws. So the situation in PA saddened, but did not surprise me.

Still, even knowing that, I feel for
...more
Angela H.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddyread, nonfiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don't even know where to start. It is shocking to me that this kind of systematic failure by Government to protect its own citizens is taking place in America. This is the kind of thing that happens in third world countries, not here in our own backyard.

While I fully realize Amity and Prosperity certainly has an agenda, the blatant disregard by government agencies, local government and corporations coupled with the general lack of public outcry should make everyone angry. I still cannot wrap
...more
Jeff
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very well written book . I learned a lot about fracking. Certainly not as harmless as we are led to believe. The author did not beat us over the head with "science." Some of course, but the main focus of the book was about the personal struggles of those involved with this ecological disaster.

I would recommend this book to others.
Nancy Regan
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Disgust and outrage kept me company as I read this 2019 General Nonfiction Pulitzer prize winner. And there was gratitude (and shame), too, that I had never had to choose between clean, healthy water and economic survival. The author noted at the end that "[s]o many of the problems of collective poverty plaguing Africa and Asia were becoming more evident in America", and that she decided to turn her attention to domestic shortcomings as a result. I found it hard to put this book down, and hope i ...more
David Quinn
This is a good book I enjoyed reading. It reminded me in many ways of Jonathan Harr's very good book A Civil Action but it lacks the depth of Harr's book and I can't help compare the books and rate this one a star lower.
Elizabeth A.G.
Excellent reporting of the communities and families impacted by the fracking industry in western Pennsylvania which exposes the human and environmental costs when profit, greed, desperation, and lack of governmental oversight on the local, state and federal levels become disastrous. Lives are changed forever.
Marvel
Jul 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My sister recommended this and since I grew up in Prosperity - and many family members still live there - I decided to read it. Also because it deals with fracking and this is happening on our family farm where my dad still lives.
When I started the book, I was skeptical. It seemed the author already had her mind made up that fracking is bad and is harmful to the water and the people nearby. But as I read the book, I thought she was fair and clearly made the point that greedy companies who come
...more
Alison
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I pray the American oil and gas industry and everyone associated with it receives a horrible comeuppance one day. Stacey Haney is made of steel and it broke my heart to read about what Range Resources stole from her and her kids--not just property, not just every last dollar they had, but their health, their sanity, their livelihood. The failures of the EPA are terrifying. Protection, my ass. The refusal, as ever, of the American court system to do anything meaningful to remedy gross injustice: ...more
Steve Nolan
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great look at what is actually "Trump country." (Fuck you, "Hillbilly Elegy.")

The poor puppies :(
Diana
Jun 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
This sounds like the kind of book I would very much enjoy but I found it meh. Part of that was the Audible narrator, who had a breathless OMG tone of voice I found annoying. The story felt like it didn’t know what it wanted to be. The human interest aspect was drawn out and grew tedious. The medical part was superficial. It tried to be a legal story for a while but that fizzled too. Finally the book just ... ends. Disappointing.
vanessa
This is a story I'm intrigued by, especially the human impact aspect and the ligitigation aspect. I wish the writing was a bit more focused and followed a trajectory - I definitely felt like I understood the people in this story - but sometimes I felt bogged by other details.
Gayle
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
If ever you begin to doubt what unbridled, unregulated capitalism is doing to individuals, families, and communities, read Amity and Prosperity. The really sick part when you think of it is that America stopped exporting the idea of freedom to the rest of the world some time ago; now we only send our culture [nothing to be proud about] and our form of destructive, self-interested capitalism, complete with austerity for the masses and glutton for the rich.

In what diaspora does a state governor ge
...more
Claudia
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book took me a while to read, and not because it didn’t keep my interest; it was just really difficult to read what the families in the book went through and how ineffective agencies they relied on to protect them were.
Sam
Apr 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great journalism covering the sad story of fossil fuel companies pillaging communities and poisoning families.
Bonnie
Jun 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book on the heels of reading "Radium Girls" and I walked around angry for two weeks afterwards. It was one thing to read about big business deception and denial of rights in the 1930s, but this story took place in the 2010's!! Big business blatantly cutting corners to save money, literally causing folks living in the surrounding areas to become horribly sick and animals to die, and then instead of doing the right thing, the deny deny deny and fight in court which bankrupts those who ...more
Vincent Masson
I've read a lot of the winners for the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction. I noticed they generally fall into two categories - a re-imagining/re-envisioning of a big world event, or books like "Amity and Prosperity" that simply feature good, hard hitting, investigative journalism about an important American social issue.

There was, for instance, a book (recently read by me) called "Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation" that won the same prize back in 2014. That story was about chemical dumpin
...more
Florence
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Natural gas was supposed to be a gateway to clean energy; a move toward making the United States less dependent on foreign oil. Many of the people who live in southwestern Pennsylvania atop the rich Marcellus Shale, saw fracking for natural gas as an economic life line. The coal industry was dying, steel was already gone and the Appalachian community was mired in hardship. Suddenly, an out of state energy company was moving in like gangbusters, buying up the mineral rights to land that had been ...more
Denny
I enjoyed Eliza Griswold's reporting and writing, but I was deeply saddened by the story she tells in Amity and Prosperity. This is the story of how Big Business, elected politicians, armies of lawyers, and sometimes even the government agencies designed to protect the public from harm conspire to facilitate environmental rape and great harm to public health then aid & abet each other in avoiding culpability. It's also a depressing tale of some of the uglier aspects of human nature. As if th ...more
Elise Martin
Similar story to Erin Brockovich, you know who the good and bad guys are right from the start of the book. This is a true story of the plight and the fight of one family in particular in a small farming community in southwestern Pennsylvania to which the "big money of fracking" has come. The author places this story within the political context of the last 10 years in our country, with regard to issues like energy, health care and government roles and presidents/presidential candidates' platform ...more
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Eliza Griswold is an American journalist and poet. She was a fellow at the New America Foundation from 2008 to 2010 and won a 2010 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

(wikipedia)
“these radioactive tracers were allegedly so harmless they could be used at the top of the watershed a few hundred feet from people’s homes; on the other, they were so dangerous that disclosing information about them was a threat to American national security. A terrorist might use such material to build a dirty bomb, the DEP responded to the Smiths in an affidavit. An amount as small as “a pencil eraser” could cause a radioactive cloud that endangered people and heightened their risk of cancer.” 0 likes
“We have several former psy-ops folks that work for us at Range because they’re very comfortable in dealing with localized issues and local governments,” he said. “Psy-ops” refers to psychological operations, a counterinsurgency tactic, which the Department of Defense defines for use exclusively outside of the United States. According to Pitzarella, Range was employing these methods in Pennsylvania. “Really all they do is spend most of their time helping folks develop local ordinances and things like that,” he said. “But very much having that understanding of psy-ops in the army and the Middle East has applied very helpfully here for us in Pennsylvania.” 0 likes
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