When Diane Wilson, fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain and mother of five, learns that she lives in the most polluted county in the United States, she decides to fight back. She launches a campaign against a multibillion-dollar corporation that has been covering up spills, silencing workers, flouting the EPA, and dumping lethal ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride into the bays along her beloved Texas Gulf Coast. In an epic tale of bravery, Wilson takes her fight to the courts, to the gates of the chemical plant, and to the halls of power in Austin. Along the way she meets with scorn, bribery, character assassination, and death threats. Finally Wilson realizes that she must break the law to win justice: She resorts to nonviolent disobedience, direct action, and hunger strikes. Wilson’s vivid South Texas dialogue resides somewhere between Alice Walker and William Faulkner, and her dazzling prose brings to mind the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, replete with dreams and prophecies.
An Unreasonable Woman Review
From a renowned author/illustrator; a bold, daring, non-fiction picture book that tells the true story of one woman’s fight to protect her environment.
Sometimes we have to take a stand and do what’s right. That’s what Diane Wilson thinks. An independent shrimper in Texas, she ekes out a living in the same waters that her family has worked hard in for generations. When Diane learns that the chemical plants in Texas give out more pollution than in any other state, she decides to stop them.
One woman against a powerful industry is not much of a fair fight, but Diane educates herself, lobbies, protests, writes letters, and never gives up. Based on real events, this is an inspiring, heartfelt story of one woman’s struggle to take a stand against injustice and indifference.
Award-winning author/illustrator Molly Bang has created a compelling narrative, told inventively through a series of black and white graphic panels set against a richly colored gouache background.
Diane Wilson is an activist, shrimper, and all around hell-raiser whose first book, “An Unreasonable Woman,” told of her battle to save her bay in Seadrift, Texas. Back then, she was an accidental activist who worked with whistleblowers, organized protests, and eventually sunk her own boat to stop the plastic-manufacturing giant Formosa from releasing dangerous chemicals into water she shrimped in, grew up on, and loved. But, it turns out, the fight against Formosa was just the beginning. In “Diary of an Eco-Outlaw,” Diane writes about what happened as she began to fight injustice not just in Seadrift, but around the world-taking on Union Carbide for its failure to compensate those injured in the Bhopal disaster, cofounding the women’s antiwar group Code Pink to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, attempting a citizens arrest of Dick Cheney, famously covering herself with fake oil and demanding the arrest of then BP CEO Tony Hayward as he testified before Congress, and otherwise becoming a world-class activist against corporate injustice, war, and environmental crimes. As George Bernard Shaw once said, “all progress depends on unreasonable women.” And in the “Diary of an Eco-Outlaw,” the eminently unreasonable Wilson delivers a no-holds-barred account of how she-a fourth-generation shrimper, former boat captain, and mother of five-took a turn at midlife, unable to stand by quietly as she witnessed abuses of people and the environment. Since then, she has launched legislative campaigns, demonstrations, and hunger strikes-and generally gotten herself in all manner of trouble. All worth it, says Wilson. Jailed more than 50 times for civil disobedience, Wilson has stood up for environmental justice, and peace, around the world-a fact that has earned her many kudos from environmentalists and peace activists alike, and that has forced progress where progress was hard to come by.
Holly Roller | 2008
In this rollicking memoir, Diane Wilson–a Texas Gulf Coast shrimper and the author of the highly acclaimed “An Unreasonable Woman”–takes readers back to her childhood in rural Texas and into her family of Holy Rollers. By night at tent revivals, Wilson gets religion from Brother Dynamite, an ex-con who finds Jesus in a baloney sandwich and handles masses of squirming poisonous snakes under the protection of the Holy Ghost. By day, Wilson scratches secret messages to Jesus into the paint on her windowsill and lies down in the middle of the road to see how long she can sleep in between passing trucks. “Holy Roller” is a fast-paced, hilarious, sometimes shocking experience readers won’t soon forget. It is the prequel to Wilson’s first book, telling the story of the Texas childhood of a fierce little girl who will grow up to become “An Unreasonable Woman,” take on Big Industry, and win. One of the best Southern writers of her generation, Wilson’s voice twangs with a style and accent all its own, as true and individual as her boundless originality and wild youth.