Books: Non-Fiction

Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore

Book – Non-fiction. By Elizabeth Rush. 328 pages. 2019.
A book about the impact of climate change on U.S. communities and societies that privileges the voices of those too often kept at the margins.

Time Periods: 20th Century, 21st Century
Themes: African American, Climate Justice, Environment, Native American, Pacific Islander, Racism & Racial Identity

In this nonfiction collection of voices from our nation’s shorelines, Elizabeth Rush’s haunting prose submerges us in the realities of sea-level rise.

First-person accounts, vignettes, and Rush’s own observations provide students and teachers with a model for how to critically, poetically, and humbly interrogate the ways the climate crisis impacts ethnically, politically, and socioeconomically diverse U.S. communities.

Her tone avoids shaming and instead asks us to imagine and grapple with the inevitability of the effects of climate change happening here and now.

Rush adds to a growing collection of writing about the climate crisis that weaves stories of community struggle and resistance with relatable science and emotional intelligence. [Description from Rethinking Schools.]

A reader’s guide for individual reflection and group discussion is available.

Reviews

Climate Justice More Resources Ad | Zinn Education ProjectA rigorously reported story about American vulnerability to rising seas, particularly disenfranchised people with limited access to the tools of rebuilding. Pulitzer Prize Jury Citation

The book on climate change and sea levels that was missing. Rush travels from vanishing shorelines in New England to hurting fishing communities to retracting islands and, with empathy and elegance, conveys what it means to lose a world in slow motion. Picture the working-class empathy of Studs Terkel paired with the heartbreak of a poet.Chicago Tribune (Best Ten Books of 2018)

Rush traffics only sparingly in doomsday statistics. For Rush, the devastating impact of rising sea levels, especially on vulnerable communities, is more compellingly found in the details. From Louisiana to Staten Island to the Bay Area, Rush’s lyrical, deeply reported essays challenge us to accept the uncertainty of our present climate and to consider more just ways of dealing with the immense challenges ahead.The Nation

ISBN 9781571313812 | Published by Milkweed Editions.


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