The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy
By Anna Clark
Forthcoming in 2018 by Metropolitan Books
The first full account of the Flint, Michigan, water scandal, an American tragedy, with new details, from an award-winning Michigan journalist.
When the people of Flint, Michigan, turned on their faucets in April 2014, the water pouring out was poisoned with lead and other toxins. Through a series of disastrous decisions, the state government had switched the city’s water to a source that corroded Flint’s aging lead pipes. Complaints about the foul-smelling water were dismissed: the residents of Flint―a largely poor African American city of about 100,000 people―were not seen as credible, even in matters of their own lives.
It took 18 months of citizen activism, in partnership with a band of dogged outsiders, to force the state to admit that the water was poisonous. But this was only after 12 people died and Flint’s children suffered irreparable harm. The long battle for accountability and a humane response to this manmade disaster has only just begun.
In the first full-length account of this epic failure, The Poisoned City recounts the gripping story of Flint’s poisoned water through the people who caused it, suffered from it, and exposed it. It is a chronicle of one town, but could also be about any American city, all made precarious by the neglect of infrastructure and the erosion of democratic decision-making. Cities like Flint are set up to fail―and for the people who live and work in them, the consequences may be mortal.
Selection of Anna Clark’s earlier reporting on the Flint, water, and cities:
“‘An Equal Opportunity Lie’: How housing discrimination led to the Flint Water Crisis.“ Splinter, December 5, 2017.
“A guide to the 15 powerful people charged with poisoning Flint.” Splinter, June 19, 2017.
“In Flint, a new era for one of the oldest community outlets in the US.” Columbia Journalism Review, August 30, 2016.
“Flint is family: What’s next?” ELLE Magazine, August 8, 2016. (Part of a package with Mattie Kahn and LaToya Ruby Frazier.)
“The city that unpoisoned its pipes.” Next City, August 8, 2016.
“How the Flint water crisis and a statehouse scandal gave a boost to FOIA reform in Michigan.” Columbia Journalism Review, June 21, 2016.
“Flint prepares to be left behind once more.” The New Republic, March 3, 2016.
“How covering the Flint water crisis has changed Michigan Radio.” Columbia Journalism Review, February 15, 2016.
“The struggle for accountability in Flint.” The Boston Review, February 2, 2015.
“Where can a city turn when the tap water turns poisonous?” Next City, December 3, 2015.
“How an investigative journalist helped prove a city was being poisoned with its own water.” Columbia Journalism Review, November 3, 2015.
“This stadium project didn’t leave the neighborhood out of the equation.” Next City, October 29, 2015.
“Flint, Michigan, has an ambitious new plan to fight blight.” Next City. March 16, 2015.
Book coverage and interviews:
“Books we can’t wait to read in 2018.” Chicago Reader, December 31, 2017.
“Spring 2018: Politics & Current Events Top Ten.” Publisher’s Weekly. December 8, 2017.
“How do you write about Flint?” CityLab Q&A. The Atlantic, September 15, 2016.
“Water crisis writer Anna Clark takes EVM into national spotlight, probes many Flint stories.” East Village Magazine, September 2, 2016.
“Detroit writer Anna Clark gets first Flint book deal.” Deadline Detroit, April 7, 2016.
“Detroit journo Anna Clark reveals details on her upcoming book on the Flint crisis.” Metro Times, April 7, 2016.
“How national media failed Flint.” Media Matters for America, February 11, 2016.
“How have the media done covering the Flint water crisis?” WDET, February 1, 2016.