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Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  3,000 ratings  ·  430 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
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Average rating 4.28  · 
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Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Amity and Prosperity provides an in-depth look at fracking and the small towns that bear this burden so that the rest of us can have the energy we often take for granted. It specifically follows a few families near the poor Appalachian towns of Amity and Prosperity in Pennsylvania, first as fortune seemingly comes knocking in the form of a gas company looking to lease their land for fracking, then the fallout as their water and air become polluted, their animals die, and they cannot puzzle out t ...more
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
Diane S ☔
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019, lor-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
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
Nov 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: current-events
This is a very personal account of the suffering of a Western Pennsylvania family and their neighbors when a fracking operation began near their property. Griswold covers a period from 2011 to 2017. She follows the lives of the Haney family headed by Stacy a single mother with two school age children. Griswold portrays them and her community as simple country folk. The Haney’s live on a six acre farm where they raise a few animals that they show at the annual county fair. Stacy works as a nurse ...more
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
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
When 2019's Pulitzer prizes were announced, I was a little underwhelmed. Compared to previous years, the topics just didn't excite me the way I'd hoped they would. Still, in my quest to read all of the Pulitzer winners, I put them on my list. I had wanted to try to keep up with the winners each year (I did manage this in 2018 for fiction and all three nonfiction categories), so I bought a copy of each and planned to read them.

I have to admit that this book, based on its title and what I thought
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
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.
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
Angela Han
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, buddyread
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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.
Christine Boyer
May 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fracking, Pennsylvania, mystery illnesses, safe drinking water
Pulitzer Prize Nonfiction - 2019. Well, I had a strange coincidence with this one. I guess I hadn't noticed that I had just read a book very similar to this. Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation. They both won the Pulitzer recently (I guess the committee likes these industry-pollution-causes-illness stories), they both focus on big companies in New Jersey and Pennsylvania contaminating local groundwater, and they both cite the difficulties in discovering, researching, then litigating and ...more
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
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.
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 :(
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
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
Rose Schrott
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent albeit heartbreaking book. It tells the story of a single mom, her two kids, and her neighbors that grow sick due to a fracking site up the road and take the company to court. The writing is superb — a complex situation made easy to follow with compassionate descriptions and intricate details that make you root for the individuals.
I want to recommend this book to anyone who has western PA connections, to those interested in the law, and to those interested in environmental p
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
MM Suarez
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Audio book narrated by Tavia Gilbert 10 hrs 34 mins

This is primarily the story of how fracking destroyed the lives of a family in a rural Pennsylvania town and how gas and oil corporations with their crooked and/or careless energy politics, sell us their poisons and destruction under the guise of "the greater good".
Its amazing how many people will accept it all as long as they are paid well and the resulting unintended casualties are not their own.

This book was well researched, easy to follow
Oct 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction
Reading this book in the final days prior to the 2020 US election, highlights the complexity of matters reduced to one liners by politicians. On the one side is the argument for employment and income in an area that has been abandoned by government and society at many levels. On the other side there is the cost the individuals is a world of corporate greed and government lacking the means to enforce their mandate. Reading this in Africa where government failures are expected and access to clean ...more
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
Joe Bolin
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
I love long form journalism, especially the books and articles for which the author has embedded him or herself with the subjects. Books like Nomadland and The Stranger in the Woods are among my favorites. As with those books, I learned about Amity and Prosperity from NPR. Unlike those books, I was disappointed with Amity and Prosperity. While it's about a very important issue--gas fracturing and the environmental damage it can cause--the characters were not sympathetic, at least as presented in ...more
Mary & Tom
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Pulitzer Prize winner in nonfiction in 2019 this work explores what America’s freedom from foreign oil has cost three families who lived near a fracking site In Pennsylvania. Well written and carefully documented, it describes the environmental effects of fracking and the industry and money that comes to poor communities through leasing of drill sites.

A married pair of attorneys, the Smiths, take on the Range Company which is responsible for the fracking in this part of Pennsylvania. The Sm
D Taberner
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The tale of Stacy Haney's battle with a large fracking company illustrates the on-the-ground implications - for the environment and human health - of the revolving door between government agencies and the industries they're supposed to regulate. Even more than that, it details how, when there's a promise of economic growth, industry is given carte blanche by state and federal governments, including the court system.

The book also did a lot for my understanding of why people in "Trump Country" -
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NonFiction Pulitzers: Amity and Prosperity - April/May 2021 Buddy Read 29 18 19 hours, 4 min ago  

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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.


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