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An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift, Texas Hardcover – September 15, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
With the discovery that her "piddlin' little county on the Gulf Coast" led the nation in toxic emissions, shrimper Wilson, a mother of five, found herself embarking on a voyage of discovery and activism that would strain her marriage and stretch her horizons. A David up against big-time chemical Goliaths, Wilson is a gifted storyteller, rendering dialogue and pacing plot turns as a novelist might. Anonymous informants, uncomfortable whistleblowers, unanticipated opposition from civic powers and seductive offers of cash bribes pepper this first-person account of Wilson's attempts to save her hometown. Although there are moments when the trail of meetings, memos and petitions seems drawn out, the tell-everything approach reveals how a woman awed to discover "they can lie on TV news! And it is all right!" can learn to master the media. Wilson's hunger-striking, boat-sinking and pole-climbing—combined with the help of a pro bono lawyer and a Greenpeace activist—ultimately wring a "zero tolerance" agreement out of Formosa Plastics and Dow/Union Carbide. Wilson's book is longer than it needs to be, but her Texas twang is catchy, and often spellbinding, as she goes about her mission, sometimes with a child "by one hand and a handful of documents in the other." (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
In the battle to halt the monstrous pollution destroying Texas' Lavaca Bay, it seemed impossible that one little lady could take on a multibillion-dollar international chemical company and win--but win Wilson did. A minimally educated shrimp-boat captain and mother of five, Wilson suffered great personal tragedy, including death threats and divorce, in her frustrating and demoralizing crusade against Formosa Plastic's proposed $1.3 billion expansion of its PVC manufacturing facility in Calhoun County, Texas, already deemed the most toxic district in the country. Armed with nothing more than her deep-seated love for the bay outside her door and an unwavering sense of justice, Wilson almost single-handedly set out to reveal the environmental destruction, worker intimidation, legal machinations, and political manipulation that epitomized Formosa's ruthless business practices. With unbridled passion, Wilson renders her "Diane-versus-Goliath" confrontation in honest and unadorned prose, liberally and gracefully lacing it with passages of heartbreaking lyricism and provocative wisdom that reveal the depth of her commitment. Few people in this world deserve to be called heroes; Wilson assuredly is one of them. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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My only criticism is that there are a lot of colloquialisms and Texan grammar & slang to get through. I got used to the conversational style, and looked more intently at the heart of the story and was not disappointed. The work is believable, credible, and gives a good sense of what life in the coastal, industrial areas of Texas is like, how hard a shrimper's life is, and how some of these communities are hanging on for dear life.
I could not put this book down. It is a compelling and important story of how our communities must come together to fight corporate power in order to secure our health, safety, and livelihoods.
Doing something doesn't necessarily mean you can write well about it. In this case, Diane writes in her own authentic and electrifying voice. Her story rings true and reads like the most exciting fiction. I recommend this book to anyone who loves nature, adventure or just plain good reading.
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