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Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains

Kerri Arsenault

A galvanizing and powerful debut, Mill Town is an American story, a human predicament, and a moral wake-up call that asks: what are we willing to tolerate and whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival.

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Book Information

Publisher: St. Martin's Press.
Publish Date: 09/01/2020
Pages: 368
ISBN-13: 9781250155931
ISBN-10: 1250155932
Language: English

What We're Saying

August 31, 2020

In the tradition of HEARTLAND and THE YELLOW HOUSE, a major non-fiction debut, an environmental and moral reckoning of three generations in a Maine paper mill town. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

Full Description

A galvanizing and powerful debut, Mill Town is an American story, a human predicament, and a moral wake-up call that asks: what are we willing to tolerate and whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival?

Kerri Arsenault grew up in the rural working class town of Mexico, Maine. For over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that employs most townspeople, including three generations of Arsenault's own family. Years after she moved away, Arsenault realized the price she paid for her seemingly secure childhood. The mill, while providing livelihoods for nearly everyone, also contributed to the destruction of the environment and the decline of the town's economic, physical, and emotional health in a slow-moving catastrophe, earning the area the nickname "Cancer Valley."

Mill Town is a personal investigation, where Arsenault sifts through historical archives and scientific reports, talks to family and neighbors, and examines her own childhood to illuminate the rise and collapse of the working-class, the hazards of loving and leaving home, and the ambiguous nature of toxins and disease. Mill Town is a moral wake-up call that asks, Whose lives are we willing to sacrifice for our own survival?

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