Alumnus Andrew Lewis '15 Set to Release Debut 'The Drowning of Money Island'
BY Zoe Contros Kearl, September 2, 2019
The Drowning of Money Island, the debut release from nonfiction alumnus Andrew Lewis '15, goes on sale October 1, 2019. The author’s first book is an intimate yet unbiased, lyrical yet investigative portrait of a rural community ravaged by sea level rise and economic hardship, as well as the increasingly divisive politics those factors have helped spawn. It invites us to confront how climate change is already intensifying pre-existing inequality.
“New Jersey coast native Lewis provides valuable perspective, utilizing his own experiences growing up in the area to relate to how the current residents feel. While by no means a one-sided polemic on doomsday scenarios, this excellent read does serve as a clarion call for those who question climate change.”—Booklist
“[A] thoughtful, probing study.”—Publishers Weekly
In The Drowning of Money Island, journalist Andrew Lewis chronicles the struggle of his New Jersey hometown to rebuild their ravaged homes in the face of the same environmental stresses and governmental neglect that are endangering coastal areas throughout the United States. Lewis grew up on the Bayshore, a 40-mile stretch of Delaware Bay beaches, marshland, and fishing hamlets at the southern end of New Jersey, whose working-class community is fighting to retain their place in a country that has left them behind. The Bayshore, like so many rural places in the US, is under immense pressure from a combination of severe economic decline, industry loss, and regulation. But it is also contending with one of the fastest rates of sea level rise on the planet and the aftereffects of one of the most destructive hurricanes in American history, Superstorm Sandy. If in the years prior to Sandy the Bayshore had already been slowly disappearing, its beaches eroding and lowland cedar woods hollowing out into saltwater-bleached ghost forests, after the hurricane, the community was decimated. Today, homes and roads and memories are crumbling into the rising bay.
“The Drowning of Money Island is a heartbreaking chronicle of the evolution of one coastal community in the age of climate disruption. Lewis writes lucidly of the tension between retreat and resilience and portrays a seaside landscape—its marshes, waterways, and fishes, and the kind of people drawn to them—with bracing honesty. This is a remarkable book.”—Amy Seidl, author of Finding Higher Ground: Adaptation in the Age of Warming
Lewis is a contributing writer for Outside and has also written for the New York Times Magazine and Guernica. He received an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University. In 2018 he was awarded a CATWALK Art Residency. He lives in South Jersey, between the ocean and the bay.