Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for that seemingly secure childhood. But blame, like a river’s flow, is a fugitive act, because its target shape-shifts as the current of time presses forward, as fugitive as finding the link from pollution to disease. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. Rachel Carson called chemicals “sinister” in her 1962 landmark book Silent Spring. In telling the story of the town where generations of her family have lived and died, she raises important and … It’s a property where the past never recedes and the personal is always mixed with business; much of Arthur’s “bread and butter” is from the paper mill that employs the majority of residents in town. To add the new supports, workers had to remove Bunyan’s head and shimmy down his neck. After they assembled his improved skeleton, workers wriggled up and out of the neck, one at a time—like the snakes on Medusa’s head come to life in lumberjack disguise—then reattached his head. The third time, I’m going to ask you, where are you working now?” Arthur always showed up. From there we walk through a fire door built into a two-foot-thick wall in the basement of the house, which then empties into a big sunroom. Yet on June 1, 2018, the EPA announced a “significant new use rule” to allow US companies to manufacture, import, and process new asbestos-containing products. In honor of the statue’s resurrection, Rumford held a festival featuring a lumberjack breakfast, zip line rides over the waterfalls, a facial hair contest, a flannel shirt dinner dance, and an ax throwing competition. Kerri will be joined in conversation with Lisa Huber, PhD, discussing Maine’s nickname “Vacationland” and how that myth silences communities living in the periphery of tourism. Created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature. Publisher’s Weekly list of “Best Books of 2020”, Barnes & Noble’s list of “Best Social Science Books 2020”, Amazon Editors’ Choice “Best Biographies and Memoirs 2020”, Indie Next Pick, September 2020 (by independent booksellers), Literary Hub’s “September's Best Reviewed Memoirs and Biographies”, Barnes & Noble’s “Essential Election Reading”, Publishers Weekly’s “Top 10 books for Politics & Current Events”, Mr. Porter’s “Ultimate Guide To Labor Day Weekend 2020”, BuzzFeed’s “Twenty-one books to get excited about this Fall”, Literary Hub’s “Most Anticipated Books of 2020”, The Revelator’s “New Environmental Books to Motivate Action”, Oprah magazine’s “Best Books of Fall 2020”, Newsweek’s “Fall Must-Read Fall Nonfiction”, Goodreads’ “September 2020 top History/Biography Pick”, Goodreads’ “Six Great Books Hitting Shelves This Week” 9/1/20, These bookstores have been generous to me and I hope you will be generous to them: 32 Avenue Books (CO) * Arcadia Books (WI) * Auntie’s (WA) * Barnes & Noble * Belmont Books (MA) * Blue Hill Books (ME) * Bogan Books (ME) * The Bookshop of Beverly Farms (MA) * Brookline Booksmith (MA) * Brown University Bookstore (RI) * Bull Moose (ME) * Center for Fiction (NY) * City Lights (CA) * Devaney, Doak, & Garrett (ME) * Fact & Fiction (MT) * Galaxy Bookshop (VT) * Gibson’s Bookstore (NH) * Greenlight Bookstore (NY) * Gulf of Maine Books (ME) * Harvard Book Store (MA) * Hickory Stick Bookshop (CT) * IndieBound (Online) * Interabang Books (TX) * Left Bank Books (ME) * Longfellow Books (ME) * Market Block Books (NY) * Northshire Bookstore (VT) * Oblong Books (CT) * Oxford Exchange (FL) * Point Reyes Books (CA) * Politics and Prose (DC) * Powell’s (OR) * PRINT: a bookstore (ME) * RJ Julia (CT) * Rocky Mountain Land Library (CO) * Sherman’s (ME) * Twenty Stories (RI) or your favorite local bookstore, Kirkus starred review: 5/27/2020. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. Tort laws and regulation provide some protection for people with cancer but, as William Boyd writes in his paper “Controlling Toxic Harms,” laws are “inadequate” because of their demand for scientific precision and evidence of harm, especially when trying to prove community exposure, where risk factors can be as diverse as the people who live there. I mean, if we are talking about underlying conditions as a consequence of things, we should try to be thorough. Then there are lines we follow because it’s the fastest way downhill (skiing). There are lines we follow (family lines), lines we shouldn’t cross (picket lines), and lines we hardly dare to bridge (silences among ourselves). Arthur’s father had rules too. That statue has been around as long as I remember, although it used to tower above the Village Shoppe across the street. By Kerri Arsenault. In telling the story of the town where generations of her family have lived and died, she raises important and timely questions." Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. Mill Town is a book of narrative nonfiction, investigative memoir, and cultural criticism that illuminate the rise and collapse of the working-class, the hazards of loving and leaving home, and the ambiguous nature of toxics and disease with the central question; Who or what are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival? At a 1964 conference on asbestosis sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences, scientists presented data showing that asbestos was found in people “who lived in the same house with workers who came home with asbestos dust on their clothes.” It turns out asbestos can cling not only to someone’s clothes, but to their lunch basket, shoes, hair, car, bedding, skin, sofa, and subsequently end up in their family’s lungs, too. Scientists are trained to be inconclusive and cautious. After I leave Arthur and Sheila’s house, I walk over to the Tourist Information Booth parking lot to see the falls. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. “In this masterful debut, the author creates a crisp, eloquent hybrid of atmospheric memoir and searing exposé. This fierce and impeccably researched work really got my blood boiling about the plunder mechanism of capitalism and its blow against life. What about before he was sick, when he worked as a pipefitter in the mill? Rachel Louise Snyder, author of the award-winning No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us and the novel What We’ve Lost is Nothing, It's the startled, zig-zag urgency of having gone to find the dead and finding Death instead. My grandmother smoked.. She didn’t get cancer. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. My father’s death certificate is testimony to these things. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. It’s not fair, I thought, when the doctor delivered my father’s prognosis of cancer, for which she gave no definitive cause. That paper mill … My father’s obituary says he died peacefully with his family by his side, but that’s not true either. Arsenault had a happy childhood, but years after moving away, she realized the price she paid for that childhood. He pushed to overcome his shyness, a flaw he wore like a hair shirt, yet it vanished when he stood in front of a chalkboard or in front of the debate team, which he joined despite his reticence. to post a message … Kerri Arsenault narrates her own work and does a fine job sharing personal stories of growing up in the mill town of Mexico, Maine. Kerri Arsenault’s Mill Town is about the relentless, slow poisoning of her family, neighbors and home town of Mexico, Maine, by a filthy, dangerous industry (paper manufacturing). You work in a paper mill like my father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, you get cancer. And he is a man of rules, either making them or complying with them. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working-class town of Mexico, Maine. About Kerri Arsenault It’s also a powerful glimpse of how corporate power, small town pride, and death are entwined in America: a vivid insight to the unbuilding of an American dream, this will be one of the major nonfiction books of a year in which the debate over what America is will rage. Rules and procedure got us through. Mexico and neighboring Rumford have been defined for over 100 years by the paper mill. You can almost hear spring releasing its frost like a cracked rib, the sound of soil shifting in its skin. Stream an excerpt from Mill Town, courtesy of Macmillan Audio.. Mill Town is for anyone who’s ever wondered about the Calvinistic calculus whereby the elect become truly wealthy while the damned (read: poor, dark-skinned, newly arrived) find early graves. Legend maintains when Bunyan’s cradle rocked, the motion caused huge waves that sank ships. In addition, testing of chemicals is standardized to a degree, but it depends on the country where they will be used and the will and power of the agency regulating them. Account & Lists Account Returns & Orders. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. Besides, what could I do? Against a resistant president and House of Representatives and industry inaction, he helped enact the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act by trying to answer a question he often asked himself: how do you create an environment people can enjoy while protecting it? “My dad told me years ago, the one who truly feeds you is the man who works in that mill.” Arthur leans forward in his office chair, his voice deep, confident. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault's own family. One in three people develop cancer over their lifetime, so maybe the question is, when will we get cancer? We’ve been creating the very thing that could be destroying us in the landscape of the American Dream. Chris Matthews, in the Sarasota Herald Tribune in 1966, said of Muskie, he “did not enter politics to have his sentences appear in the newspaper. The European Union’s method for regulating chemicals is better safe than sorry or “the Precautionary Principle,” whereby industry must provide rigorous proof people or ecosystems won’t be affected by industrial substances. His “failure to thrive,” may have been because the last nurse was careless and the nursing board even more so. Via St. Martin's Press. “Under” means less than or below, the condition beneath his actual death, and “lying” is something the death certificate may do—lie—because his esophageal cancer was supposedly gone, as the doctor indicated just months before he died. So if the law fails us, what else can we do? “Now I’m thirsty,” I say, sarcastically. There was nothing peaceful about it. Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. It didn’t help that industry fought back against regulation with corruption and lies, deploying an alphabet soup of sinister acronyms like CERCLA, which sound like chemicals themselves. An idiopathic diagnosis, like in my father’s death certificate, blames the body itself for its own undoing. There was no mention of his father’s metastatic stomach cancer or that his father worked in the bleach room before there were many rules. Our body burden—the total amount of toxic chemicals present in a person’s body—is exactly that: the burden an individual must bear because our regulatory organizations, science, and laws can’t or won’t. Everyone should read it. MILL TOWN: Reckoning with What Remains. As for the two thousand new chemicals introduced into the US every year and the eighty thousand chemicals still untested, how can any agency—let alone an underfunded, understaffed, and often industry-friendly government agency—possibly keep up? The result, her book, is tender, enthralling, and, ultimately, devastating. Kerri Arsenault is both a graceful writer and a grieving daughter in search of answers and ultimately, justice. Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains Kerri Arsenault. ESSAY: “My 86 Jobs,” New York Review of Books Daily. Our post–Agent Orange, post–atomic bomb, post-DDT, R&D industrial defoliated landscape proved her claim. If I learned anything in ten years of research, it was that records are wrong all the time. I’ll never know the answers, or possibly even the right questions to ask about how he or anyone in my town died, especially if the documents were written by people who have their own story to tell. There are also lines that lead us down an odd path (Babe, the blue ox) or lines that bisect the haves and the have-nots (sacrifice zones, football teams). Ten years and Arsenault’s hand keeps moving this way and that from all points across the mystery and the love as across the paper on some tombstone for a rubbing. Kerri Arsenault narrates Mill Town, her examination of Mexico, Maine, the town she grew up in, uncovering stories... Read Full Story. No matter the myth, there our Bunyan stands as a guardian for those ambling through the waning mill town of my youth, his shadow sometimes as brooding as the hurtling river beyond. Imagine for a moment the United States eliminated all the toxic chemicals it has created. In addition, if several family members get cancer, it doesn’t count toward the cluster evidence you need. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault’s own family. When James was in high school, however, Arthur wanted him to do bigger and better things. . One more question: why wasn’t my father’s name on his union’s memorial that commemorated men who died from working at the mill? In telling the story of the town where generations of her family have lived and died, she raises important and timely questions." There’s nothing in the recent medical records to show my father’s triple bypass decades ago contributed to his death. By something not exactly chance, it also happens to be the story of my own home town of Gloversville, New York, where another industry (leather tanning) did the same thing. by Kerri Arsenault ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 2020. “Mill Town is a powerful, blistering, devastating book. The permutations mirror what it’s like when we look at galaxies in outer space. MILL TOWN: Reckoning with What Remains. 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