Item description for An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, And the Fight for Seadrift, Texas by Diane Wilson...
When Diane Wilson, fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain and mother of five, learns that she lives in the most polluted county in the United States, she decides to fight back. She launches a campaign against a multibillion-dollar corporation that has been covering up spills, silencing workers, flouting the EPA, and dumping lethal ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride into the bays along her beloved Texas Gulf Coast. In an epic tale of bravery, Wilson takes her fight to the courts, to the gates of the chemical plant, and to the halls of power in Austin. Along the way she meets with scorn, bribery, character assassination, and death threats. Finally Wilson realizes that she must break the law to win justice: She resorts to nonviolent disobedience, direct action, and hunger strikes. Wilson's vivid South Texas dialogue resides somewhere between Alice Walker and William Faulkner, and her dazzling prose brings to mind the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, replete with dreams and prophecies.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.6" Width: 5.7" Height: 1.2" Weight: 1.05 lbs.
Release Date Sep 15, 2006
Publisher Chelsea Green
ISBN 1933392274 ISBN13 9781933392271
Availability 0 units.
More About Diane Wilson
Diane Wilson (Morgan Hill, CA) now works as a professional Sign Language Interpreter for the Deaf. More on her and her book can be found at www.dianewilson.net.
Diane Wilson currently resides in Morgan Hill Seadrift Seadrift, in the state of California. Diane Wilson was born in 1948.
I just loved this book and was sorry to see it end, and I am a discriminating reader. The story is so incredibly well told and so well written. There is drama, personal stories, great environmental information. I read some of the paragraphs, which flowed just like the tide at Seadrift, over and over again. She writes just like Texans talk and I just enjoyed it so much. She fights the good fight. Right ON!
One person shining a light in the darkness makes a difference Jan 29, 2007
With the discovery that her "piddlin' little county on the Gulf Coast" led the nation in toxic emissions, Diane Wilson fought friends, family, local politicians, corrupt state regulators, legislators, senators, and the multi-billion dollar company Formosa Plastic. This leader of Taiwan's petrochemical industry had environmental practices so appalling that twenty thousand Taiwanese came out under threat of police violence to protest its proposed new $8 billion dollar complex. That's how Formosa decided to shift its operations to Texas. Texas was willing to give Formosa $200 million in subsides and to look the other way on environmental violations for it's proposed $1.3 billion expansion of its PVC manufacturing facility in Calhoun County, Texas.
Diane wanted to know why in her small community "a man could make the arrest column in the local newspaper any day of the week for running his truck with expired license plates or no insurance, but let a chemical company, half a mile wide and with a thousand unknown chemicals zipping through their pipes, release eighty tons of a baby-aborting chemical into his neighbor's backyard, and it would be lucky if it made a note in a report. The plant manager sounded startled over the phone. "Good God!" he said. "Of course we can't put that type of information in the paper. Do you want old Mister Weaver across the street to have a heart attack?" " (p. 250)
Vinyl chloride monomer is one of the worst cancer-causing chemicals in the world. "It's so hazardous the government says you're in violation if a single pound is released. But here seventy-four tons of vinyl chloride was released within one mile of an elementary school right across the road from Point Comfort. And if that wasn't enough, Formosa, in the same breath they were polluting with, asked the state to permit a tenth reactor while the ninth was violating production permits. You tell me the state is getting it? You exceed permits and you're rewarded with more?" (p.186)
Maybe all this had something to do with Formosa giving campaign funds to U.S. Senator Gramm, who appointed his former campaign advisor to the head of EPA Region 6, and who was now the final authority on Formosa's penalty and all their permits.
"The commission decided that even though Formosa's fine warranted something in the seven-figure bracket, they would calculate it thirty times lower, and although Formosa continued to violate their wastewater permit on a daily basis into a body of water they had already degraded, the state would allow the waste water permit and violations to continue. It wasn't the Water Commissions fault, Chairman Bucko said. The blame lay squarely with the federal agencies who prevented the Water Commission from dealing appropriately with the environmental issues at Formosa. Maybe now the agencies would back off their demand for a comprehensive environmental impact statement and let the state regulatory process work." (p. 208)
Pure Dynamite! Jun 22, 2006
I found Diane's use of local dialect when "she" is talking, and standard prose elsewhere, a delightful aspect of this book. The local dialect is what one hears in the Texas Coast fishing communities, and it evokes an incredible feeling of time and place. The reader feels the salt spray right along with her.
Outstanding Story Excitingly Written Feb 25, 2006
Diane Wilson is not only an unreasonable woman she is an outstanding human being. She is a reluctant hero, the most authentic kind. She eventually stands up for her native waters, mother earth and the very survival of the human race.
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.
Bravo This Heroine and Great Story Teller Dec 22, 2005
What a pleasure to read this story of an amazing and heroic woman, giving it all to take down giants. Ms Wilson's Marquez-like writing style and choice of words leaves me breathless and imagining I'm there with her as her mission lays itself at her feet and she picks it up and takes it on. Bravo! An absolutely wonderful read.