In Amity and Prosperity, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and journalist Eliza Griswold tells the story of the energy boom’s impact on a small town at the edge of Appalachia and one woman’s transformation from a struggling single parent to an unlikely activist.
Amity and Prosperity tells with vivid detail the contours of daily life in Washington and Greene counties ... The book’s subtitle, 'One Family and the Fracturing of America,' is a significant play on words as well as this riveting book is very much about the contested practice of industrial fracking ... Ms. Griswold’s descriptions are spot on and clearly recognizable ... Although the story is a page-turner exposing corporate injustices, dishonesty and public malfeasance...it is still appealing to read about places one knows ... Ms. Griswold is an energetic writer, and the characters she writes about are themselves colorful, raw and dogged ... not only a glimpse into postindustrial small towns and the environmental consequences of fracking but also a legal thriller worthy of any novel by John Grisham.
Those who think they know what they talk about when they talk about fracking have a lot to learn from Griswold’s painstaking and compassionate research ... Griswold forces her reader to confront a set of heartbreaking, systemic failures, starting with the failure of the American justice system ... If there are faults to this book, they result less from errors on Griswold’s part than bureaucratic malfeasance: much of the information that Griswold needed in order to tell this story remains shielded by intellectual property law or sealed off at the behest of court settlements ... Griswold’s book does more than offer an investigative account of fracking in rural Appalachia; it shows how this region, once a hotbed of union organizing and liberal politics, suddenly ran red. It answers the questions that eluded so many journalists ... One of Griswold’s more significant achievements lies in her having successfully made fracking a topic of conversation again, long after the word itself had become a regular and, perhaps, all-too-comfortable part of everyone’s vocabulary.
Griswold’s penetrating story explores the consequences of our nation’s ill-advised zeal for exploiting abundant natural resources and features rapacious corporations, inept—if not complicit—regulators and hapless victims in a small Pennsylvania town. Hapless, that is, until they hire an unlikely husband-and-wife legal team to help them seek justice. Most of the action unfolds in and around the small town of Amity in southwestern Pennsylvania ... Beginning in 2010, Griswold made 37 trips to the region to report the story, and she focuses her careful investigation on nurse Stacey Haney and her two children...The Haneys’ worsening financial and health problems eventually drive them to lawyers John and Kendra Smith, partners in a small, local law firm ... Griswold’s sobering book is yet one more in a growing roster of works that detail the price some members of American society have been forced to pay to serve the convenience and comfort of their fellow citizens.