Thursday, January 29, 2009

Amputated Lives

Alison Johnson graduated summa cum laude from Carleton College and went on to receive a master's degree in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin. She also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris on a National Science Foundation Fellowship. Alison was thirty-five years old when she developed chemical sensitivities. When her three daughters began showing signs of chemical sensitivity in their early teens, she became an outspoken advocate for the chemically sensitive through documentary films, books and articles and lobbying members of Congress.

In her most recent book, Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity, Alison Johnson discusses the causes and consequences of chemical sensitivity in the twenty-first century. In the preface to the book, Ms Johnson states, "All my books and documentaries have had a central goal in mind--to convince readers and viewers that chemical sensitivity is real and is devastating far too many lives."

About the first third of Amputated Lives describes the causes and symptoms of chemical sensitivity, with whole chapters devoted to veterans of the Gulf War, survivors of the World Trade Center disaster and "Katrina's Toxic Aftermath." The rest of the book is a compilation of individual stories of people with chemical sensitivity.

Warning: this book will make you angry and it will break your heart. I would not call Johnson an emotional writer, but she is obviously passionate about her subject, and she doesn't pull any punches. Particularly in the personal story section, she lets the stories speak for themselves, and that they do very well.

Order information, along with more information about the author and her other works, can be found at The book can be ordered for $15.00 plus $3.00 s/h. If you want a single copy, you can send a check for $18.00 to MCS Information Exchange, 4 Wren Drive, Topsham, ME 04086. The order information also includes, "If you are facing severe financial difficulties, you may inquire about a discount." Clearly, Alison Johnson's only motive in writing and publishing this book is to educate people. As a publisher myself, I can tell you that she isn't even covering her expenses with what she is charging.

I am hoping in the near future to purchase an entire box of these books and distribute them to family and friends. In the meantime, I just have to tell people about this valuable contribution to the MCS community and the voice of warning it presents to people who are not yet chemically sensitive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Catherine, for reviewing this book. I will share with the flock at The Canary Report.