What the Eyes Don't See

What the Eyes Don't See

A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in An American City

Book - 2018 | First edition.
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"The dramatic story of the signature environmental disaster of our time and an inspiring tale of scientific resistance by a relentless physician who stood up to power. Flint was already a troubled city in 2014 when the state of Michigan--in the name of austerity--shifted the source of its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Soon after, citizens began complaining about the water that flowed from their taps--but officials rebuffed them, insisting that the water was fine. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician at the city's public hospital, took state officials at their word and encouraged the parents and children in her care to continue drinking the water--after all, it was American tap water, blessed with the state's seal of approval. But a conversation at a cookout with an old friend, leaked documents from a rogue environmental inspector, and the activism of a concerned mother raised red flags about lead--a neurotoxin whose irreversible effects fall most heavily on children. Even as circumstantial evidence mounted and protests grew, Dr. Mona knew that the only thing that could stop the lead poisoning was undeniable proof--and that to get it, she'd have to enter the fight of her life. What the Eyes Don't See is the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona--accompanied by an idiosyncratic team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders--proved that Flint's kids were exposed to lead and then fought her own government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world. Paced like a scientific thriller, this book shows how misguided austerity policies, the withdrawal of democratic government, and callous bureaucratic indifference placed an entire city at risk. And at the center of the story is Dr. Mona herself--an immigrant, doctor, scientist, and mother whose family's activist roots inspired her pursuit of justice. What the Eyes Don't See is a riveting, beautifully rendered account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their--and all of our--children."--Dust jacket.
Publisher: New York : One World, an imprint of Random House, [2018]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780399590832
0399590838
Branch Call Number: 615.9256 HANNA A
Characteristics: x, 364 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: What the eyes do not see

Opinion

From Library Staff

Focuses on the Flint water issues and interweaves many themes: childhood stress and resilience, environmental disaster, misguided political policy, indifference, family life, immigration, injustice and, perhaps most importantly, the protection of our children's health and well-being. Pediatrician... Read More »

Thursday Evening Online Book Group meets on November 18, 2021.

"The dramatic story of the signature environmental disaster of our time and an inspiring tale of scientific resistance by a relentless physician who stood up to power."

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SnoIsleLib_BrianH May 23, 2019

Focuses on the Flint water issues and interweaves with many themes, childhood stress and resilience, environmental disaster, misguided political policy, indifference, family life, immigration, injustice and maybe most importantly the protection of our children's health and well being. Pediatrici... Read More »


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a
alecbussott
Aug 10, 2020

Enlightening and spirited, to say the very least. The narrative pace slows down a bit when the author covers their personal history, but it is a good read all the same.

b
brianhaight
Feb 06, 2020

Seattle Times Review : “Mona Hanna-Attisha’s account of that urban man-made disaster reads both as a detective story and as an exposé of government corruption. . . . Her book’s message is that we each have the power to fix things, to make the world safer by opening one another’s eyes to problems. Her book reinforced my belief that the first step to becoming a citizen activist is seeing the world as it should be, not as it is given to you.”—The Seattle Times

shorturl.at/ahlDG

SnoIsleLib_BrianH May 23, 2019

Focuses on the Flint water issues and interweaves with many themes, childhood stress and resilience, environmental disaster, misguided political policy, indifference, family life, immigration, injustice and maybe most importantly the protection of our children's health and well being. Pediatrician activist author Mona Hanna-Attisha makes a difference for Flint kids and ultimately all of us.

m
mcgilvra27
Apr 03, 2019

A great story for the moment (2019) about an immigrant who stood up to state government trying to shut down a story about risks to poor and minority citizens.

mko123 Jan 27, 2019

This is a true story of Flint, Michigan, a poor American city dealing with a health crisis caused by lead-laced water. This happens in the richest country in the world, and in a state surrounded by the world's largest source of fresh water. This book will dismay you, make you angry and frustrate you. But ultimately, it will give you hope in the decency of ordinary citizens who join forces and persevere in the right. Read this book!

d
DorisWaggoner
Jan 20, 2019

I had a vague idea about the water problems in Flint, Michigan, but I needed Dr. Mona's book to really open my eyes. She was telling the parents of her very young patients that it was perfectly all right to mix powdered formula with the water from the Flint water, after the government switched from using water from Lake Huron for financial reasons. Then a conversation at a barbeque with a high school friend, with whom she'd worked in an environmental club back then, told her of her frustrations with years of working with the EPA in Washington D.C. trying to eliminate lead from the water in that city. Lead is a neurotoxin which has no safe levels for very young children. It's a poison, and there is no way to remove it from the human body once ingested. Since babies live on either breast milk or formula in their early months, that choice is crucial. And what the mother eats and drinks during pregnancy affects the growing fetus has effects that science is just beginning to study. The author, an immigrant of Iraqi parentage understood only too well that the children most affected were those who already faced challenges of poverty and racism, and was able to prove that with her research. Yet the government, and even the public health structure, were denying any problems. Her job was not just as a pediatrician, but as supervisor of pediatric residents in the only public hospital in Flint, serving the most vulnerable population. She happened to have had just the education to know the kind of research needed to prove what was happening, and the smarts to form a team to put together reports and face down the local mayor, get the representative on her side, and eventually get some apologies. In the end, some changes were made, a few people lost their jobs, and some were even indicted for what they had done--or not done. She even got Congress to pass some mitigating legislation to remediate some of the bad effects for the children who had suffered the most--school nurses, nutritional counseling, parental counseling, books for kids, extra WIC budgeting. But she would always wonder about the long lasting effects, such as ADHD, and even criminal behavior in adolescence and adulthood. Still, she had done what she could, and at least knew that the water going forward would be switched back to Lake Huron, and the lead pipes would be changed to plastic. A page turner that could have used a bit more editing, but a book that everyone who looks at a problem and thinks "nothing can be done about this" ought to read.

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