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I Can't Breathe!: Libby, Montana 1958 (Paperback)
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A mystery of abuse and death weaved its way into the Libby, Montana, community in the late 1950's. Corporate abuse held community members captive as they breathed the poisonous air from the asbestos mining company. The Bowman family hid dark secrets of child abuse. The public school harbored a sexual abuser. And then there were the missing children. Who took the children? Why? What happened to them? The discovery of a child's body in a shallow grave had broader implications that the sheriff could understand.
When Eric Bowman moved to Libby, he took a management position with the Zonolite Mining Company. He was also a positive influence within his father's family, becoming a caring brother to his three half-sisters. His work with the mining company revealed evidence that company managers knew the asbestos ore poisoned many of its miners, as well as consumers of the products made from the ore. But they did nothing that would interfere with the huge profits they were making. Eric's research put his life in jeopardy. No one had ever survived who took on this company in any way that would diminish the billions of dollars the owners were making.
These interwoven threads of abuse unfolded in a community where death was given in exchange for a paycheck from the mining company, and where child physical and sexual abuse were as commonplace as the people who knew about it were willing to allow.
About the Author
H. M. Bowker grew up in Libby, Montana, attended Carroll College in Helena, where she majored in English with a minor in sociology and education, and later went on to earn a master's degree in educational leadership from the University of Montana. For years, she taught English and art at the middle- and high-school levels, until serving a six-year stint as a secondary principal. In 1989, she completed her PhD in educational leadership at Gonzaga University and then served nine years as superintendent for Washington state public schools. She currently lives near Seattle, Washington, with her husband and their three children.