Book Review: The Poisoned City by Anna Clark

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: A microhistory Brief synopsis:  Flint, Michigan has seen its share of issues over the y...

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge Prompt: A microhistory

Brief synopsis: Flint, Michigan has seen its share of issues over the years, most prominently racism, institutional and systemic. The water crisis heard round the world was another example of the city's treatment of citizens of color. This book tells the story of Flint's water crisis and the decades of events that led to it.

The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy was actually incredibly fascinating. Not only did the book tell the story of the Flint water crisis, but a history of Flint as a city and the systemic racism that has shaped the town. I was also surprised to learn about Love Canal's similar tragedy - a town near Niagra Falls that was overcome by chemical disaster. Both Love Canal and Flint overwhelmed by unintentional poisoning that could have been prevented. Also within the depths of the story were enthralling facts about the Great Lakes, such as how Lake Superior is known as a shipwreck graveyard or how the same lake houses the only national park found on an island - I honestly had no clue the Great Lakes were so fascinating and spent hours down a rabbit hole learning more about these things.

What's also intriguing while also being heartbreaking and simultaneously anger-inducing is the thousands of homes built for GM workers, while only a minuscule amount were allotted for workers of color - though a huge population of the workers were in fact non-White. The entire story is honestly so infuriating, and it's all truly so much more than just the water crisis.

Now, I've mentioned more than a few times that non-fiction is not my forte. Memoirs can be either here or there, but a factual story with footnotes and references and further side stories to reference back to - that's a whole different field. While the book was truly fascinating and the information is timely and relevant, I often felt like I was reading a peer-reviewed research paper. Honestly, almost half the book was made up of further references and notes. It took me two weeks to get through The Poisoned City, mostly due to the statistics and other facts that I felt like I often had to go back and review because I felt like I missed something somewhere.

I do highly recommend this book if you're looking to learn more about Flint and its water crisis, but just note the stats and such may make the book seem a bit tough, even though it's not terribly dense like a textbook may be.

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own. 

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