cover image Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America

Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America

Eliza Griswold. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-10311-8

Journalist Griswold (The Tenth Parallel) comprehensively examines the circumstances surrounding the lawsuit that Stacey Haney, a nurse and single mother, filed against energy company Range Resources. The book opens with an account of the shale gas boom of the mid-2000s, when fracking (hydraulic fracturing) brought unexpected windfalls to financially distressed towns on the border of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, including Haney’s hometown, Amity, and the neighboring town of Prosperity in rural Pennsylvania. Residents welcomed the money from mineral leases, using it to pay for needed roofs and fences. Haney did, too, until her son, Hartley, was hospitalized for fatigue and tested positive for high levels of arsenic in his blood, which they believed was due to runoff from the fracking on a nearby property. When Haney and her daughter, Paige, got tested, they too were diagnosed with arsenic poisoning. The community reacted to the news and Haney’s subsequent lawsuit with suspicion and animosity, accusing Haney of “acting out of hysteria.” Griswold combines Haney’s perspective with those of her attorneys, John Smith and Kendra Smith, during the years-long legal saga, which was settled for an undisclosed amount in early 2018. With empathy and diligence, Griswold brings attention to the emotional and financial tolls Haney and her family endured in this revealing portrait of rural America in dire straits.[em] (June) [/em]