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Way Downstream …

In Tangier Island, journalists and authors can’t seem to resist the tale of a vanishing people

         The latest is a new book, Chesapeake Requiem by Earl Swift, who spent 14 months documenting the tiny, storied island in the Bay that may be America’s first casualty of climate change.

         The 1.3-square-mile island off of Virginia, inhabited since the 1600s, loses swaths of shoreline each year to rising waters.

         Swift, an ex-newspaper reporter who has written several other books (including one about a painstaking effort to restore a ’57 Chevy), combines stories of watermen with a big-picture take on what’s at stake for America and Chesapeake Bay with our changing climate.

         You may have seen stories in newspapers and on television about the popularity of Donald Trump in Tangier. The president may have a chance to repay a pod of his supporters.

         Swift says that Tangier — renown as the soft-shell crab capital of the world — may yet be saved, but only by “heroic intervention” by the government, which could include breakwaters, a giant seawall or relocation of inhabitants.

         If and when the rescue arrives, the story of a vanishing island could turn into the story of vanishing tax dollars.