Love Canal: A Toxic History from Colonial Times to the Present

ISBN : 9780190053840

Richard S. Newman
328 Pages
156 x 156 mm
Pub date
Jan 2020
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Winner of Winner of the Malott Prize for Recording Community Activism of the Langum Charitable Trust.

In the summer of 1978, residents of Love Canal, a suburban development in Niagara Falls, NY, began protesting against the leaking toxic waste dump in their midst-a sixteen-acre site containing 100,000 barrels of chemical waste that anchored their neighborhood. Initially seeking evacuation, area activists soon found that they were engaged in a far larger battle over the meaning of America's industrial past and its environmental future. The Love Canal protest movement inaugurated the era of grassroots environmentalism, spawning new anti-toxics laws and new models of ecological protest. Historian Richard S. Newman examines the Love Canal crisis through the area's broader landscape, detailing the way this ever-contentious region has been used, altered, and understood from the colonial era to the present day. Newman journeys into colonial land use battles between Native Americans and European settlers, 19th-century utopian city planning, the rise of the American chemical industry in the 20th century, the transformation of environmental activism in the 1970s, and the memory of environmental disasters in our own time. In an era of hydrofracking and renewed concern about nuclear waste disposal, Love Canal remains relevant. It is only by starting at the very beginning of the site's environmental history that we can understand the road to a hazardous waste crisis in the 1970s-and to the global environmental justice movement it sparked.


Introduction Of Burial Mounds and Toxic Tombs
Part One Love Canal in the Era of Great Dreams
Ch 1 Developing Niagara, Developing Love Canal
Ch 2 Building Love's Canal
Ch 3 Master of the Chemical Machine
Ch 4 Worlds Collide at Love Canal
Part Two Love Canal in the Era of Environmentalism
Ch 5 The Problem at Love Canal
Ch 6 Growing Protest at Love Canal
Ch 7 Widening the Circle of Influence
Part Three Learning from Love Canal
Ch 8 Love Canal Lessons
Ch 9 Resettling Love Canal?
Epilogue Memory and Health at Love Canal

About the author: 

Richard S. Newman is Professor of History at Rochester Institute of Technology. A native of Buffalo, New York, he is the author and/or editor of five previous books on abolitionism, African American history, and environmentalism, including The Palgrave Environmental Reader and Freedom's Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers. For fifteen years, he taught environmental history at Rochester Institute of Technology.

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