What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City

What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City

by Mona Hanna-Attisha


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NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK • The dramatic story of the Flint water crisis, by a relentless physician who stood up to power.

“Stirring . . . [a] blueprint for all those who believe . . . that ‘the world . . . should be full of people raising their voices.’”—The New York Times

“Revealing, with the gripping intrigue of a Grisham thriller.” —O: The Oprah Magazine

Here is the inspiring story of how Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, alongside a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders, discovered that the children of Flint, Michigan, were being exposed to lead in their tap water—and then battled her own government and a brutal backlash to expose that truth to the world. Paced like a scientific thriller, What the Eyes Don’t See reveals how misguided austerity policies, broken democracy, 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 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.

Praise for What the Eyes Don’t See

“It is one thing to point out a problem. It is another thing altogether to step up and work to fix it. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a true American hero.”—Erin Brockovich 

“A clarion call to live a life of purpose.”The Washington Post

“Gripping . . . entertaining . . . Her book has power precisely because she takes the events she recounts so personally. . . . Moral outrage present on every page.”The New York Times Book Review

“Personal and emotional. . . She vividly describes the effects of lead poisoning on her young patients. . . . She is at her best when recounting the detective work she undertook after a tip-off about lead levels from a friend. . . . ‛Flint will not be defined by this crisis,’ vows Ms. Hanna-Attisha.”The Economist

“Flint is a public health disaster. But it was Dr. Mona, this caring, tough pediatrican turned detective, who cracked the case.”—Rachel Maddow

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399590856
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/05/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 20,095
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP, is a physician, scientist, and activist who has been called to testify twice before the United States Congress, awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America, and named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

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Chapter 1

Excerpted from "What the Eyes Don't See"
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Copyright © 2019 Mona Hanna-Attisha.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
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Table of Contents

Prologue: How I Got My Name 3

Chapter 1 What the Eyes Don't See 16

Chapter 2 The Barbecue 32

Chapter 3 The Valedictorian 38

Chapter 4 Haji 48

Chapter 5 Red Flags 53

Chapter 6 First Encounter 69

Chapter 7 Miasma 83

Chapter 8 No Response 100

Chapter 9 Sit Down 115

Chapter 10 Jenny + the Data 131

Chapter 11 Public Health Enemy # 1 145

Chapter 12 What Field Are You On? 161

Chapter 13 The Man in the Panda Tie 174

Chapter 14 Environmental Injustice 186

Chapter 15 Poisoned by Policy 198

Chapter 16 Shortwave Radio Crackling 209

Chapter 17 Meeting the Mayor 221

Chapter 18 Aeb 240

Chapter 19 The Press Conference 250

Chapter 20 Splice and Dice 259

Chapter 21 Numbers War 265

Chapter 22 Demonstration of Proof 276

Chapter 23 All the Things We Found Out Later 284

Chapter 24 Fire Ant 293

Chapter 25 Truth and Reconciliation 304

Chapter 26 Prescription for Hope 321

Epilogue: Haji and the Birds 326

Acknowledgments 331

Further Reading 335

Notes 339

Index 353

Image Credits 365

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