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August 23, 2013 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Toms River by Dan Fagin

Tom's River by Dan FaginToms River: A Story of Science and Salvation
by Dan Fagin
Narrated by Dan Woren

Genre: Non-Fiction, Science
Publisher: Books on Tape
Publish Date: March 19, 2013
Format: Audio, 18 hours | 31 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Intermediate
Rating: 4 of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

The riveting true story of sixty years in the life of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms River melds hard-hitting investigative reporting, a fascinating scientific detective story, deep historical research, and an unforgettable cast of characters into a sweeping narrative that leaves us asking: Could it happen in my town, too?

My Thoughts:

I was both fascinated and horrified by this well-researched account of big business putting profit before the health of humans, all living creatures and the environment.

This is a story of corporate greed and government indifference. Government on all levels — state, local and federal — were complicit. It was all business as usual with no thought about the consequences of dumping toxic chemical waste into the water or burying it in ground. Even more disturbing, the local water company knew about the chemicals polluting the drinking water and didn’t do anything about it. They hid the information from the residents so they wouldn’t have to close any of the wells and cause a water shortage.

When an unusually high number of cancer cases began to show up in Toms River, people began to ask questions but found that getting answers was not going to be easy. A few courageous individuals persevered working tirelessly to overcome government and corporate secrecy and uncover the truth.

The author has done extensive research in compiling this story of the people of Toms River and their decades long struggle to end the pollution and bring justice to the many families whose lives were impacted. Merged into their story is also the history of Toms River, a look back at the origin of the chemical dye industry, and the science behind it.

At times I wished I had paid more attention in chemistry class because there is a lot of compelling scientific information in this book; however, not having a complete understanding the chemical reactions will not take away from the story. The science emphasizes the seriousness and the gravity of the situation the people of Toms River were facing and there is a fascinating human interest story in between the big words.

Expertly narrated by Dan Woren, the audio production was a pleasure to listen to. Good pacing and clear pronunciations, even all those scientific terms, made the 18+ hours pass by quickly. Even though this is a detailed and at times complex story, I highly recommend the audio version.

In the end, the families did get some compensation, but not without reservations. Ultimately the corporations moved their factories to China, and the pollution and environmental harm continues. Again, don’t be scared off by the science, this is also a human interest story and one that affects all of us and the planet we live on.

Source: From Kathy at
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. Suko / Aug 23 2013 5:31 pm

    Excellent review, Leslie. I am sorry that this is a true story.


    • Leslie / Aug 23 2013 9:15 pm

      Sadly it’s not only true but still continuing on other parts of the planet.


  2. BermudaOnion / Aug 23 2013 7:51 pm

    This book was disturbing on so many levels but compelling at the same time. I’m glad you liked it too.


    • Leslie / Aug 23 2013 9:14 pm

      As I was listening to this I was mumbling to myself in disbelief that the people ‘in charge’ could be so callous! Thanks again for sending the book my way.


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