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UBC Press Fall 2015 Trade

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Toms River
A Story of Science and Salvation
By (author): Dan Fagin
9781610915915 Paperback, Trade English General Trade SCIENCE / Environmental Science Oct 16, 2014
$23.95 CAD
Active 155.57 x 234.95 x 38.1 mm | 820 gr 562 pages Island Press
Newly available in paperback, Dan Fagin's Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution is environmental reporting at its best.

The true story of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms River won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and has been hailed by The New York Times as “a new classic of science reporting.” Now available in paperback with a new afterword by acclaimed author Dan Fagin, the book masterfully blends hard-hitting investigative journalism, scientific discovery, and unforgettable characters. For years, large chemical companies had been using Toms River as their private dumping ground. The result was a notorious cluster of childhood cancers scientifically linked to local air and water pollution. Toms River is an epic of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who refused to keep silent until the truth was exposed.

A science journalism professor at New York University, Dan Fagin is a nationally prominent journalist on environmental health topics. Fagin is the director of the masters-level Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program (SHERP).

“Dan Fagin’s narrative of the arrival and explosive growth of a chemical plant in New Jersey in the 1950s weaves a complex tale of powerful industry, local politics, water rights, epidemiology, public health and cancer in a gripping, page-turning environmental thriller.”

- National Public Radio

“Immaculate research . . . unstoppable reading . . . Fagin’s book may not endear him to Toms River’s real estate agents, but its exhaustive reporting and honest look at the cause, obstacles, and unraveling of a cancerous trail should be required environmental reading.”

- The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Fagin’s meticulously researched and compellingly recounted story of Toms River families struggling to find out what was causing the cancers that claimed their children belongs on the shelf with other environmental/medical mysteries. It’s every bit as important—and as well-written—as A Civil Action and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

- The Star-Ledger

“Absorbing and thoughtful."

- USA Today

“A thrilling journey through the twists and turns of cancer epidemiology, Toms River is essential reading for our times. Dan Fagin handles topics of great complexity with the dexterity of a scholar, the honesty of a journalist, and the dramatic skill of a novelist.”

- Siddhartha Mukherjee, M.D., author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer

“This hard-hitting account of cancer epidemiology in the New Jersey town of Toms River is a triumph.”

- Nature

“In an account equal parts sociology, epidemiology, and detective novel, veteran environmental journalist Dan Fagin chronicles the ordeal of this quiet coastal town, which for decades was a dumping ground for chemical manufacturers. Fagin’s compelling book raises broader questions about what communities are willing to sacrifice in the name of economic development.”

- Mother Jones

Toms River is an epic tale for our chemical age. Dan Fagin has combined deep reporting with masterful storytelling to recount an extraordinary battle over cancer and pollution in a New Jersey town. Along the way—as we meet chemists, businessmen, doctors, criminals, and outraged citizens—we see how Toms River is actually a microcosm of a world that has come to depend on chemicals without quite comprehending what they might do to our health.”
- Carl Zimmer

“At once intimate and objective, Toms River is the heartbreaking account of one town’s struggle with a legacy of toxic pollution. Dan Fagin has written a powerful and important book.”
- Elizabeth Kolbert

“It’s high time a book did for epidemiology what Jon Krakauer’s best-selling Into Thin Air did for mountain climbing: transform a long sequence of painfully plodding steps and missteps into a narrative of such irresistible momentum that the reader not only understands what propels enthusiasts forward, but begins to strain forward as well, racing through the pages to get to the heady views at the end. And such is the power of Dan Fagin’s Toms River,surely a new classic of science reporting . . . a sober story of probability and compromise, laid out with the care and precision that characterizes both good science and great journalism.”

- The New York Times

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