When all is said and done, this book project lasted over five years from the start of research to the end product. Research began in early 2012 and I started putting pen to paper while the fieldwork was ongoing, publishing an article in 2013. I drafted a formal book proposal and three sample chapters in early 2015. After positive feedback from three university presses all interested in the project, I signed a contract with the University of Minnesota Press in September 2015. I then delivered a full manuscript by June of 2016 and a final manuscript by October of last year. I went through the copy edits in March and April of 2017, and then the final page proofs this past June and July. And now here it is:
An overlooked part of fracking’s environmental impact becomes a window into the activists and industrial interests fighting for the future of energy production—and the fate of rural communities
WHEN THE HILLS ARE GONE: Frac Sand Mining and the Struggle for Community
By Thomas W. Pearson
University of Minnesota Press - November 2017
When the Hills Are Gone tells the story of Wisconsin’s sand mining wars. Providing on-the-ground accounts from both the mining industry and the concerned citizens who fought back, Thomas W. Pearson blends social theory, ethnography, stirring journalism, and his own passionate point of view to offer an essential chapter of Wisconsin’s history and an important episode in the national environmental movement.
PRAISE FOR WHEN THE HILLS ARE GONE:
“Thomas W. Pearson takes us to the front lines of one of the great under-reported environmental issues in America today—how the fracking industry’s hunger for sand is impacting rural Wisconsin. His deep research and intimate portraits of people on all sides of the controversy make this an important and timely read for anyone concerned about our country’s environment, natural resources, and what happens when the needs of big business collide with those of ordinary citizens.” —Vince Beiser, journalist
"When the Hills Are Gone is a riveting, sobering story about local democracy at the whipped-around tail-end of the frack-driven oil and gas boom that has rocked the United States since the turn of the millennium. The writing is lively and reflective—deftly portraying the many micro-tactics through which local democracy can be undercut and the many kinds of people working against this in rural Wisconsin. This is critical reading for understanding contemporary politics on the ground."—Kim Fortun, University of California, Irvine
“A masterful blend of stories and scholarship that will be the definitive account of a major environmental justice issue. Thomas W. Pearson is fair-minded and unflinching as he traces the erasure of place and the scramble to salvage community and democracy.” —Adam Briggle, author of A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking
“The churning engine of the global energy economy always touches down in local places, sometimes to brutal effect. Thomas W. Pearson provides a compelling and deeply personal story of one such place, the sand hills of Wisconsin. Both an ethnography and a study of state and local politics, When the Hills Are Gone richly describes community divisions and sudden activism in places where disruptive environmental change is ongoing.” —Paul Robbins, director, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Thomas W. Pearson is associate professor of anthropology and assistant director of the Honors College at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. His research has been published in American Anthropologist, Cultural Anthropology, American Ethnologist, Human Organization, and other academic journals. He lives in Menomonie, Wisconsin.
For more information, including the table of contents, visit the book's webpage: