"Lord, We're Just Trying to Save Your Water":
Environmental Activism and Dissent in the Appalachian South

Suzanne Marshall

Foreword by Stanley Harrold and Randall M. Miller, Series Editors
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"Highly illuminating and engaging in its weaving of personal narratives through the history of natural resource policy and the emergence of networks of environmental activists. One of the most detailed extended descriptions of grassroots environmental political mobilization I have seen. . . . Essential reading for environmental activists and scholars alike."--Kenneth Gould, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York

"A useful, timely, and much needed contribution to environmental history, environmental sociology, and social movements studies, with informative and solidly researched case studies of environmental activism."--Robert Futrell, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Environmental protest--its causes and consequences--and the challenges of organizing to confront government and big business are the focus of this book, which brings to life the grassroots activism of southern Appalachia's rural citizens in the face of environmental threats to their communities.

One of the first books to examine environmental activism case studies in the South, this insider's view is both academically rigorous and highly personal--its scholar-activist author is a member of Friends of Terrapin Creek, one of the groups featured in the book. Drawing upon qualitative data from oral histories and the papers of grassroots organizations, Suzanne Marshall gives voice to ordinary southerners who created activist networks in rural Georgia, North Carolina, and Alabama—a region of southern Appalachia often ignored by scholars.

These tales of rural empowerment offer a unique blend of ethnographic narrative and environmental policy history that never loses sight of the real people at the center of contested natural environments in the Appalachian South, an area that historically has suppressed organized environmental activism despite a host of ecological problems. Marshall provides insight into the links between national policy and regional political economy and their implications for local communities; she shows how, periodically, obstacles have been overcome. She illustrates how coalitions formed and examines the variety of political tactics and strategies used by local activists in their struggles against bureaucracy and private industry.

Suzanne Marshall is associate professor of history at Jacksonville State University.

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"With an emphasis on how these movements developed in the Appalachian South, the book is a valuable resource for activists and environmentally-minded people." - Anniston Star
--Anniston Star

"important book… A useful, timely, and much needed contribution to environmental history, environmental sociology, and social movements studies." - Appalachian Heritage
--Appalachian Heritage

"What a delightful and significant book!" - Appalachian Heritage
--Appalachian Heritage

" By giving attention to the organizing of local environmental activists, in the Appalachian South no less, Marshall makes an important contribution to the growing number of works on grassroots environmentalism."--Kentucky Historical Society
--The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Marshall's piece provides a narrative riddled with questions, problems, and frustrations, but it also provides insight for future actions and does the ever most important thing a book can do: make the reader think! " "Refreshingly, this is not a history that sets forth to prescribe the absolute in activism. Rather, Marshall presents a variety of case studies, some of which failed while others succeeded to demonstrate the process of activism. This text will prove useful to the scholar, activist, and student as well." "One of the greatest strengths in Marshall's book, which will lend itself well for a teaching situation, is the groupings of case studies."
--H-NET Reviews

"The steady degradation of the environment in north Georgia and northeastern Alabama these past forty years might not seem ripe yet for historical analysis, but this book blends great stories of activism into a very thoughful analysis." ; "Marshall's book is a pleasure to read. She has written an engaging story about people who have taken steps toward addressing these problems"--North Carolina Historical Review
--North Carolina Historical Review

" Marshall's study of environmental activism in the contemporary Appalachian South demonstrates the ability of ordinary citizens to do extraordinary things. The book also illustrates the importance of the local media in mobilizing environmental movements, as well as the important role that native scholar/activists like Marshall often play in successful grassroots organizations.
--Environmental History

"a valuable collection of case studies of environmental activist organizations located mainly in northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia, but also reaching into Tennessee and North Carolina." "This book demonstrates that, although the obstacles are large and powerful, environmental activism and dissent in this appalachian subregion is healthy, especially in terms of its knowledge base and democratic promise."--The Alabama Review/ Herbert Reid, Univ. of Kentucky
--The Alabama Review

"replete with stories of people whose environmental consciousness evolved from visceral "Not In My Backyard" sentiments to a more inclusive recognition of human interconnectedness with large-scale natural systems." "These heartfelt tales of an aroused populace give this book an engaged immediacy that mirrors Marshall's and her subjects' passionate convictions."
--The Journal of Southern History

"A wonderful contribution to the literature on the rural environment. It is important for those who study environmental protest and environmental justice to read, study, and ponder carefully. Moreover, those whose scholarly terrain lies in urban sociology should read it, too." "This book beats the new genre of 'reality television' by orders of magnitude for realism."
--Rural Sociology

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