Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

by Earl Swift

Hardcover

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Overview

A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a two-hundred-year-old crabbing community along the Chesapeake Bay facing extinction because of climate change—part natural history, part paean to a vanishing way of life, and part meditation on man’s relationship with nature—from a Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist and the author of The Big Roads.

Tangier Island, a 1.3 square mile spit of land in the Chesapeake Bay off the coast of Virginia, is a unique American small town. Most of its residents in this natural wonderland speak a distinct dialect passed down from their ancestors, English settlers who arrived in the seventeenth century. In this "the soft-shell crab capital of the world," the economy has for decades revolved around blue crabs, and nearly everyone on Tangier—home to less than a thousand men, women, and children—is connected to the crabbing business.

Yet this place where neighbors know each other and doors aren’t locked is disappearing; only four feet above sea level, it is losing fifteen feet of shoreline each year due to rising seas. Poised to become the first climate change casualty in the United States, the island could be uninhabitable in twenty years or less, barring widespread and extraordinarily expensive intervention from the federal government, some experts believe.

Going Under is a poignant, inside look at the past, present, and tenuous future of Tangier Island. Acclaimed journalist Earl Swift has spent much of the last two years living in this quaint and charmingly insular community that offers a few restaurants, two bed and breakfasts, and one ATM. Interweaving the story of Tangier’s remarkable past with the first-person stories of crabbers and others who make their living from the sea, it is a bittersweet and eye-opening look at a world that has, quite nearly, gone by—and a crisis that will eventually impact all Americans, regardless of their views on climate change.

Going Under includes 25 black-and-white photographs.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062661395
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 85,272
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Journalist Earl Swift has written five books, including The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways (2011). Since 2012 he has been a residential fellow of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at the University of Virginia.

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