24 August 2023
Demy paperback with flaps, 135mm x 216mm
Cover image © Universal Images Group North America LLC / Alamy
Cover design © Luke Bird
An unflinching look at Charleston, a beautiful, endangered port city, founded by English settlers in 1669 as a hub of the sugar and slave trades, which now finds itself at the intersection of the twin crises of climate and race.
Unknown to the tourists who hop from one restaurant to another on the charming streets of the Charleston peninsula, rapidly rising sea levels and increasingly devastating storms are mere years away from rendering the city uninhabitable. If this precarity is hidden, it is because the state has a strong interest in keeping up appearances, valuing profit and property above all else, and because the city’s Black and lower-income residents will bear the brunt of the storm.
Susan Crawford shows how Charleston – and scores of other coastal communities – must reimagine its future before rising waters stymie its ability to act at all. This evocative and important book demonstrates why and how.
‘It’s a book that I wish every community could have for facing economic inequality, racial injustice and climate change. In a blend of history, policy, science and journalism, Crawford brings Charleston to life and reveals why the city is a harbinger for the United States and the world.’
— Laura Trethewey, author of Imperiled Ocean: Human Stories from a Changing Sea
‘Charleston is a ghost story for the climate age, a sweeping and unflinching analysis of how a history of racism, greed, and political cowardice is creating a wet dystopian future for an iconic American city. Read this book and you’ll understand the enormity of the challenges that coastal cities face in a rapidly warming world, and why people are fighting for change before it’s too late.’
— Jeff Goodell, bestselling author of The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World
‘The precarious situation in which this low-lying city finds itself is a microcosm of many other cities by a rising sea. But this is a story of people and not just policy . . . A powerful portrait of the cost of climate denial coming due.’
— David Goodrich, former head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Observations and Monitoring Program, former Director of the UN Global Climate Observing System, and author of On Freedom Road