New York Times Best Seller
A Year with the Watermen
of Vanishing Tangier Island
Tangier, Virginia: a community unique on the American landscape. Mapped by John Smith in 1608, settled during the Revolution, the tiny sliver of mud and marsh is home to 470 hardy people who live with one foot in the twenty-first century and another in times long passed.
They are separated from their countrymen by twelve miles of often tempestuous water—water that for generations has made them a chief source for the rightly prized Chesapeake Bay blue crab, and has lent the island its claim to fame as the softshell crab capital of the world.
But the very water that has long sustained Tangier now erases it day by day, wave by wave, as the island sinks and the bay rises. Experts reckon that islanders will soon be forced to abandon their homes. Conservative and deeply religious Tangiermen ponder the end times.
Chesapeake Requiem takes an intimate look at the island’s past, present, and tenuous future, and sounds a warning on the coming fate of countless coastal communities.