I'm joined by Eliza Griswold, a poet and New Yorker contributor whose latest book, Amity and Prosperity, won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. We talk about the book's protagonist, a single mother named Stacy, who cut a deal with a fracking company to get at the natural gas beneath her property in western Pennsylvania. Stacy comes to bitterly regret that decision, for reasons that become clearer as the book—and my episode with Eliza—progresses.
I find it amazing that Eliza balances her investigative reporting with poetry, and in the episode she mentions how she has a new collection out, If Men, Then.
We also talk about her influences. There's Martha Gellhorn and George Orwell but also more modern writers like George Packer. Reading Eliza reminds me of some absolute classics in immersive reportage, books like Adrian Nicole LeBlanc's Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx, and David Finkel's Thank You For Your Service.
I said this in my conversation with Eli Saslow, but it bears repeating: Thank You For Your Service is not only great but intimidating. Like, How the hell did Finkel get all this?
I asked myself a lot of the same questions reading Eliza's book, and our time together begins to answer those questions.