When the river that his ancestors had settled next to in the 1870s turned orange with mining-related pollution in 2015, JONATHAN THOMPSON knew he would write a book about it. After all, he had been researching the core issue—pollution from extractive industries—for most of his 20 years as a journalist. He worked at and then owned the Silverton Standard & the Miner newspaper over the course of a decade. Then in 2005 he hired on at High Country News, an independent magazine covering the issues of the American West, where he has served as associate editor, editor-in-chief, senior editor, and is now a contributing editor and writer. Thompson received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Mathematics at St. Johns College in Santa Fe, was a Ted Scripps Fellow at the Center for Environmental Journalism at University of Colorado, Boulder, and has also worked as an artisan baker, bike mechanic, janitor, and seed-germination technician. He currently lives in Bulgaria with his wife Wendy and daughters Lydia and Elena.