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Powerful and important, "My City Was Gone" is the cautionary tale of how a hardworking small town was destroyed by the very forces that created it. Anniston, Alabama, was once a thriving industrial hub, home to a Monsanto chemical plant as well as a federal depot for chemical weapons. Now its notoriety comes from its exceptionally high cancer rate—some 25 percent above the state norm—and the town's determined citizens, who joined together and struck back at the corporation that employed them—and poisoned them.
Dennis Love's bold, gripping narrative unfolds through the stories of three Annistonians: David Baker, the black community activist and environmental folk hero who would lead the charge against the polluters; Chip Howell, the white mayor who defended and provided political cover for the army; and the author himself, a native son who shares his memories and offers compelling insight as the events unfold. Throughout, Love introduces a diverse collection of citizens—heroes and villains, bystanders and victims—whose experiences put a human face on this modern tragedy.
"Anniston—," Love writes, "created from whole cloth to serve exclusively at the pleasure of commerce, a Reconstruction-era 'model city' envisioned by its profiteering yet starry-eyed founders as a Utopian centerpiece of the Industrial Age—became the victim of a staggering, even historic, environmental double-whammy, brought on by the harsh, consumptive legacy of its longstanding paternal influences, the twin gods of Industry andNational Defense."
As provocative and timely as "Erin Brokovich" or "A Civil Action," "My City Was Gone" is a magnificently told true story of ordinary citizens in a small Southern town who led a legendary fight against corporate pollution and wrongdoing.
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