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The People’s Republic of Chemicals

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51eAUVOb+nL._UY250_ * FROM THE DUST JACKET

William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs follow up their acclaimed Smogtown with a provocative look at China’s ecological calamity, which makes Los Angeles’ air pollution crisis of yesteryear seem like an easy-breathing dream. Toxic smog most figured was obsolete needlessly kills as many people there daily as the 9/11 attacks, while huge plumes of Asian contaminants ride the jet stream to rain down ozone and mercury on the American West Coast. In vivid prose blending first-person reportage with exhaustive research and a sense of karma, Kelly and Jacobs describe China’s ancient love affair with coal, and how the Clinton Administration’s push to bring China into the World Trade Organization accelerated the outsourcing of millions of factory jobs in another sucker punch to the U.S. middle class. They explore officials’ manipulation of Beijing’s eco-statistics, the horror of China’s “e-waste” and “Cancer” villages, the deception of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and spellbinding peasant revolts against disease-spreading plants that state censors often muffle. Ending with a profile of China’s gargantuan coal-bases, which climatologists decry as a global warming dagger, The People’s Republic of Chemicals names names and emphasizes humanity over bloodless propaganda.

* Amazon / Barnes & Noble 

 

REVIEWS …

* FOREWORD REVIEWS (5 hearts / picked as one of the year’s best environmental books): “The rapid industrialization of the world’s most populous nation has far-reaching effects for the world’s environment and economy, and in The People’s Republic of Chemicals, journalists William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs detail how extreme China’s pollution problem has become … thoroughly explains an important but potentially wonkish in a way that should make it accessible and interesting to a large audience … Kelly and Jacobs … do an outstanding job of showing the causes and effects of the interdependency between American consumers and Chinese manufacturers. The result is a well-rounded portrait …”

* BOOKLIST (starred review / picked as one of the year’s best environmental books) : “The Smogtown (2008) authors return with a look at China’s air pollution problem, and it is a doozy … The prose is sharp, vivid, and direct, leading readers through hard-hitting chapters about the Beijing Olympics, America’s Walmart, made-in-China addiction, and the casual way in which eco-statistics are manipulated. Kelly and Jacobs pillory the actions of as many American politicians as Chinese, noting policy missteps and political weakness with a take-no-prisoners attitude … a surprisingly enjoyable read.” 

* KIRKUS “A scathing denunciation of how America outsourced its industrial capacity to China, a package that included catastrophic pollution … Kelly and Jacobs again team up in a hard-hitting follow-up to their 2008 environmental page-turner Smogtown: The Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles. As “self-deputized gumshoes” covering the environmental beat, the authors felt they could not ignore the ugly reality in China …  A powerful warning …”

* THE NEW YORK TIMES: “Chip Jacobs, … an author based in Los Angeles who has written extensively about (the) ‘hazy brotherhood’ between L.A. and Beijing …, and William J. Kelly wrote “Smogtown … Now they have turned their attention to … how (China)  finds itself …’a toxified netherworld.'”

WALL STREET JOURNAL 
“The book’s California-based authors … find fault from Beijing to Washington, and remind readers that China’s pollution problems transcend geography …”

LIT/RANT “(A) well-sourced jeremiad about the state of China’s environmental problems. “The number of Chinese succumbing annually to preventalbe smog deaths effectively matched the number of people killed in the U.S. on 9/11 every day of the year,” write (the authors) … As China’s economy continues to grow at the expense of environmental protections, (they) note, “the butterfly effect is threatening to feel Pterodactyl “… “

CHINA URBAN DEVELOPMENT BLOG “An excellent starting point in understanding how China’s pollution problem got so out of hand in the first place and what can be done to stop it (or at least slow it down).”

* CHINADIALOGUE.NET “Authors William J. Kelly and Chip Jacobs joined forces once before … to write their climate classic, Smogtown: the Lung Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles, a remarkable 2008 exposé and memoir about air quality, politics and health in Southern California’s smog belt. This time, the duo … (goes) farther afield to investigate air pollution that threatens to put a chokehold on the Pacific Rim … “A nation breathes its choices,” the authors warn, while admitting that “when it involves the People’s Republic and coal, it’s more than complicated. It’s ancient.” … (A) book (that) is simultaneously entertaining and alarming …”

* ASIAN BOOK REVIEW  “The authors’ message is to remind us that we’re in serious trouble and that the situation is getting worse … An obsession with growth continues to triumph over the environment. We may look back and see that the  severe air pollution in Beijing in recent winters, which on bad days has been like breathing the air in a forest fire, marked a turning point.”

* PASADENA WEEKLY  “… Cancer villages, peasant uprisings, corruption at every level of society and tales of human struggle are interwoven with a gripping narrative. This truly impressive treatise of investigative reporting is a searing indictment of humanity’s disregard for itself.”

LISTOPIA” 

 

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* MEDIA  & APPEARANCES …

—  CHIP LINKING CHINA’S ENVIRONMENTAL CARNAGE & U.S. CONSUMERISMSIRIUSXM RADIO 

—  “‘ANGRY MOTHERS KEY TO CHINA’S POLLUTION FIGHT –  CHINA PRESS

—  “HOW THE US AND WEST CONTRIBUTED TO CHINA ADDICTION TO DIRTY DEVELOPMENT”SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

— “FROM ‘SMOGTOWN’ TO MODEL FOR THE WORLD” – LA OBSERVED 

—  CHIP’S APPEARANCE IN BEIJING AT CLIMATE/AIR POLLUTION CONFERENCE WITH AL GORE & OTHERSCHINA-US CLEAN AIR CONFERENCE 

—  WILLIAM J. KELLY AT “CHINA SUMMIT 2015″ – BROWN UNIVERSITY WATSON INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL & PUBLIC AFFAIRS 

—  “WRITING CHINA: THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHEMICALS” – THE WALL STREET JOURNAL 

—  “Q. AND A.: CHIP JACOBS ON STRUGGLING WITH SMOG IN LOS ANGELES AND BEIJING” – THE THE NEW YORK TIMES 

— “Q&A WITH CO-AUTHOR OF ‘THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHEMICALS‘” – CHINA URBAN DEVELOPMENT BLOG 

—  “WHO (WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION) SMOG REPORT” – KCRW 

—  “... THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHEMICALS” – KPFK 

—  “COAL USE TURNING CHINA IN ‘THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHEMICALS” –  THE STREET 

 — “THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHEMICALS: CHINA’S POLLUTION IS OUT OF CONTROL” – AOL LIVE/HUFFINGTON POST

— “CHIP JACOBS WARNING OF IMPENDING ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE FROM HIS BOOK” – BRAINSTORMIN

—  “WE USED TO BE CHINA” – MARKETPLACE 

—  “CHINA’S BATTLE PLANS IN WAR ON POLLUTION UNDER SCRUTINY” – LOS ANGELES TIMES

CHINA SEEKS TO FIGHT SMOG BY BRAINSTORM: ALL IDEAS WELCOME” – LOS ANGELES TIMES

— “GASIFICATION OF COAL IN CHINA AND THE SMOG IT CREATES” – CCTV

—  “U.S. TRADE DEALS FROM THE ’90’S SET UP CHINA AS A POLLUTION HAVEN” – INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS

— “CHINA’S PLAN TO CLEAN UP AIR IN CITIES WILL DOOM THE CLIMATE, SCIENTISTS SAY” – INSIDE CLIMATE NEWS 

 

* RECOGNITION  …

—  The People’s Republic of Chemicals among Foreword Review’s best climate-change-solution books

—  The People’s Republic of Chemical earns Gold and Silver at the Green Book Festival 

—  The People’s Republic of Chemicals named a Indies Book of the Year Award Finalist

—  The People’s Republic takes silver at the Pacific Rim Book Festival & medals at the Los Angeles Book Festival 

—  Booklist names The People’s Republic one of top 10 best books on sustainability

— A Book Scrolling best sustainability book 

Population Education: Seven Must-Read Books for Facing Gender Inequity, Hunger, and Pollution    

 

 

* PRAISE FOR SMOGTOWN: THE LUNG-BURNING HISTORY OF POLLUTION Unknown-4IN LOS ANGELES“… – Remarkably entertaining and informative … This book is just amazing, a gripping story well told” – Booklist starred review– “Historical heft … style delivers substance in true Hollywood fashion, with character-driven plots draped in glamour and sensation … the history of smog has never been so sexy” – Los Angeles Times– “… In this tale of underhanded deals, gritty politics, community organizing and burgeoning environmentalism, the corruption is plentiful and the subplots replete with intrigue … the authors offer a zany and provocative cultural history.” – Kirkus “… Finished with a particularly powerful, forward-looking epilogue, this friendly, accessible history should appeal to any American environmentalist ”-  Publishers Weekly – ” … A meticulous chronicle of the city’s signature airborne grime and the civic and social forces that emerged to stop it ”Bookforum “… The narrative that emerges is more than a tale of a region and a populace besieged by smog; it is also a parable for a nation beset by environmental and social problems … (a) well-researched cultural history”Slate – “… Well-documented, highly engaging and widely relevant … Smogtown is not your typical “green’s” diatribe against big business and weak government. No, Jacobs and Kelly are much smarter and fairer than that ” – Sustainablog – “A climate classic … a remarkable … exposé and memoir about air quality, politics and health in Southern California’s smog belt” – CHINADIALOGUE– Named one of the top 10 environmental books of the year by Booklist; silver medalist, Independent Publishers Book Awards and Green Book Festival, recipient of the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature. Featured in the New York Times, Author@Google, C-SPAN and elsewhere. Sacramento Bee bestsellerMandarin Version洛杉矶雾霾启示录 Chinese bestseller. Winner of ten awards, including a Shanghai Book Award; “Outstanding Popular Science” book (China Ministry of Science), a “Most Influential” book (Xinhua) official National Library Recommended work (Wenjin Book Awards). 

 

 

 

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