The cover of "Desperate"


Kris Maher ’91

Maher is a longtime staff reporter for the Wall Street Journal who writes about environmental issues and related topics; he has covered such major stories as the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in West Virginia. In this nonfiction work subtitled An Epic Battle for Clean Water and Justice in Appalachia, he chronicles an environmental lawyer’s seven-year quest to force the powerful coal company Massey Energy—the same firm involved in the Upper Big Branch catastrophe—to take responsibility for poisoning the water in Mingo County, West Virginia, where residents have suffered disproportionate rates of illness including kidney stones and cancer. Kirkus calls Maher’s account “both a case study in exploitation of the little guy and a playbook for confronting it,” while Booklist says his “sharp, detailed prose reads like fiction.”