Paradise Falls: The True Story of an Environmental Catastrophe (Hardcover)

Paradise Falls: The True Story of an Environmental Catastrophe By Keith O'Brien Cover Image
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Description


The staggering story of an unlikely band of mothers in the 1970s who discovered Hooker Chemical's deadly secret of Love Canal—exposing one of America’s most devastating toxic waste disasters and sparking the modern environmental movement as we know it today.

Lois Gibbs, Luella Kenny, and other mothers loved their neighborhood on the east side of Niagara Falls. It had an elementary school, a playground, and rows of affordable homes. But in the spring of 1977, pungent odors began to seep into these little houses, and it didn’t take long for worried mothers to identify the curious scent. It was the sickly sweet smell of chemicals.
 
In this propulsive work of narrative storytelling, NYT journalist Keith O’Brien uncovers how Gibbs and Kenny exposed the poisonous secrets buried in their neighborhood. The school and playground had been built atop an old canal—Love Canal, it was called—that Hooker Chemical, the city’s largest employer, had quietly filled with twenty thousand tons of toxic waste in the 1940s and 1950s. This waste was now leaching to the surface, causing a public health crisis the likes of which America had never seen before and sparking new and specific fears. Luella Kenny believed the chemicals were making her son sick.
 
O’Brien braids together previously unknown stories of Hooker Chemical’s deeds; the local newspaperman, scientist, and congressional staffer who tried to help; the city and state officials who didn’t; and the heroic women who stood up to corporate and governmental indifference to save their families and their children. They would take their fight all the way to the top, winning support from the EPA, the White House, and even President Jimmy Carter. By the time it was over, they would capture America’s imagination.
 
Sweeping and electrifying, Paradise Falls brings to life a defining story from our past, laying bare the dauntless efforts of a few women who—years before Erin Brockovich took up the mantle— fought to rescue their community and their lives from the effects of corporate pollution and laid foundation for the modern environmental movement as we know it today.

About the Author


KEITH O’BRIEN has written for The New York Times, Politico, and The Boston Globe. A longtime contributor to National Public Radio, he has appeared on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and This American Life, among other programs. He lives in New Hampshire. Follow him on Twitter @KeithOB.

Praise For…


“Propulsive . . . A mighty work of historical journalism . . . Paradise Falls is a glorious quotidian thriller about people forced to find and use their inner strength. After all these years, they are fortunate to have a chronicler as focused and thoughtful as O’Brien. He brings their courage back to life.”
The Boston Globe
 
“With stunning clarity . . . [O’Brien chronicles] the human tragedy of Love Canal. . . By the time I read of Jon Allen’s death, even though I knew the outcome, I cried. . . As the disaster unfolds, there are horrific discoveries, medical mysteries and plenty of screaming neighbors . . . so gripping it could almost be a thriller.”
—Erika Engelhaupt, Science News

"Paced like a thriller, it’s a remarkable story of perseverance against impossible odds."
Chicago Review of Books

“A stunning, sad, and instructive story . . . [revealing how] Love Canal transformed environmental policy in the United States.”
Psychology Today

“At once heart-wrenching and uplifting, infuriating and inspiring, Paradise Falls is an exhaustively researched and compelling excavation of the past that remains eerily relevant in this moment. O’Brien deftly knits together a tightly-paced, relatable, and definitive narrative of a watershed moment in the annals of environmental justice…and its profoundly felt absence.”
—Denise Kiernan, New York Times bestselling author of We Gather Together, The Last Castle, and The Girls of Atomic City

“Nearly two decades before environmental activist Erin Brockovich made headlines in California, a group of mothers on the other side of the country launched an epic battle to save their neighborhood in the shadow of Niagara Falls. Exhaustively reported and expertly told, Paradise Falls is the definitive, captivating account of the women who, against all odds, exposed the deadly secret of Love Canal. Keith O’Brien’s latest is narrative nonfiction at its finest.”
Abbott Kahler, bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park
 
“How does an environmental disaster become an inspiring tale of homemakers turned heroes? Start with Keith O’Brien, a gifted writer who expertly blends emotion and gumshoe reporting to tell the story of ordinary people who fought to save their families. Paradise Falls is a master work of narrative nonfiction.” 
—Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of Fall and Rise and 13 Hours

“This book—about an historical event, an environmental catastrophe—reads like a thriller, even if you know the contours of that event and its outcome. In luminous prose, O’Brien brings people to life on the page. You’ll end up caring about them, and admiring them, for their courage and persistence.”
—Jonathon Harr, author of the #1 national bestseller A Civil Action

“Meticulously researched . . . gripping . . . This authoritative book deserves a wide audience and should provoke reflection on just how much we have progressed in the 45 years since the Love Canal disaster.”
Library Journal, starred review

“Riveting . . . the text blisters with details . . . Paradise Falls is a narrative resplendent with ordinary people who stood up against overwhelming odds. O’Brien has accomplished an outstanding work of investigative journalism.”
Booklist, starred review
 
“Deeply reported, masterly . . . a story [O'Brien] brings to life for a new generation. [Paradise Falls] is a marker we can use to measure how far we’ve come . . . in terms of environmental responsibility, and how far we still have to go.”
Publishers Weekly

“Deeply researched . . . In this work of investigative reporting, O’Brien narrates a tale of corporate malfeasance and inaction, governmental response (or lack thereof), and, above all, inspiring citizen activism in the face of harrowing circumstances . . . A thorough retelling of an environmental tragedy and a renewed call for corporate accountability.”
Kirkus Reviews
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593318430
ISBN-10: 0593318439
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: April 12th, 2022
Pages: 480
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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