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Law Transportation


by (author) Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny

translated by W. Donald Wilson

Initial publish date
Aug 2020
Transportation, Corruption & Misconduct, General, Disasters & Disaster Relief, Environmental Conservation & Protection, Post-Confederation (1867-), General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2020
    List Price

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Lac-Mégantic, Québec, Canada – July 6, 2013. On a hot summer night, a driverless, out-of-control train descends the slope that leads to the scenic town below and explodes, pulverizing the downtown area and killing forty-seven unsuspecting victims. The devastation, which leaves the people of Lac-Mégantic dazed and in mourning, is quickly the object of a tortuous cover-up. Who are the tragedy’s real culprits?


In this fascinating piece of investigative journalism, which unfolds like a thriller, Saint-Cerny reveals the inner workings of the 2013 Lac-Mégantic rail disaster. She uncovers how the disaster, far from being just an "error of a faulty system," was caused by powerful people and institutions distant from the town itself.


The tragedy of Lac-Mégantic began far before the train’s brakes failed; it was conceived in the offices of Wall Street hedge funders, of Dakota black-gold cowboy magnates, of oil conglomerates, of a political class entirely devoted to the interests of the rail industry. And when it struck, it hit a population which, while still in shock, found itself at the mercy of local predators.

The fruit of five years of work and interviews with nearly a hundred people, including victims and their relatives, Mégantic: A Tragedy in Waiting, tells the story of the disaster in three acts – before, during, and after – in an investigation whose ultimate goal is to prevent the preventable.

About the authors

Author, researcher, and activist Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny arrived at the site of the Lac-Mégantic tragedy five days after it occurred. Her book-length piece of investigative journalism, Mégantic: A Deadly Mix of Oil, Rail, and Avarice (Talonbooks, 2020), was in its original French edition the winner of the 2018 prix Pierre-Vadeboncœur, a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards for Non-Fiction, and listed for the 2019 Prix des libraires. She has been a social and environmental activist in various NGOs for over thirty-five years. She lives in Val-David, Quebec.

Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny's profile page

W. Donald Wilson's profile page

Other titles by Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny