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Water
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Water

4.6 3
by Steven Solomon
 

“I read this wide-ranging and thoughtful book while sitting on the banks of the Ganges near Varanasi—it's a river already badly polluted, and now threatened by the melting of the loss of the glaciers at its source to global warming. Four hundred million people depend on it, and there's no backup plan. As Steven Solomon makes clear, the same is true the

Overview

“I read this wide-ranging and thoughtful book while sitting on the banks of the Ganges near Varanasi—it's a river already badly polluted, and now threatened by the melting of the loss of the glaciers at its source to global warming. Four hundred million people depend on it, and there's no backup plan. As Steven Solomon makes clear, the same is true the world over; this volume will give you the background to understand the forces that will drive much of 21st century history.” —Bill McKibben

In Water, esteemed journalist Steven Solomon describes a terrifying—and all too real—world in which access to fresh water has replaced oil as the primary cause of global conflicts that increasingly emanate from drought-ridden, overpopulated areas of the world. Meticulously researched and undeniably prescient, Water is a stunningly clear-eyed action statement on what Robert F Kennedy, Jr. calls “the biggest environmental and political challenge of our time.”

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
"Seeking to inspire us to place a higher value on water and establish wiser approaches to its use, Solomon has created a brilliantly discursive and compelling epic of humankind’s most vital resource."
Robert F. Kennedy
“A fascinating and provocative work of history that shines new light on what is probably the biggest environmental and political challenge of our time. Steven Solomon’s brilliant book reveals how today’s planetary crisis of freshwater scarcity is recasting the world order and the societies in which we live.”
Linda Lear
“Solomon’s soaring account of our attempt to manage earth’s total environment over millennia never neglects the individuals, inventions, and initiatives pivotal to that effort. Water is the most alarming and compelling call to action I’ve read since Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.”
Bill McKibben
“This volume will give you the background to understand the forces that will drive much of 21st century history.”
Daniel Yergin
“ Steve Solomon also defines the critical challenges of water – and the need for new thinking – for nations and peoples around the world, both for today and in the future.” —Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power
Douglas Brinkley
“Steven Solomon has written a riveting historical manifesto on behalf of Water Power. His sweeping narrative, covering centuries, is awe-inspiring. I learned a tremendous amount of usable knowledge from this fine work.”
Publishers Weekly
“Persuasive. . . . Unique. . . . Solomon surveys the current state of the world’s water resources by region, making a compelling case that the U.S. and other leading democracies have untapped strategic advantages that will only become more significant as water becomes scarcer.”
Kirkus Reviews
“A sweeping history. . . . Solomon identifies plenty of obstacles to an equitable future, both institutional and geophysical, but remains optimistic that science-born solutions are in the offing. . . . A useful piece for readers interested in natural resources and the geopolitics attendant to them.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Seeking to inspire us to place a higher value on water and establish wiser approaches to its use, Solomon has created a brilliantly discursive and compelling epic of humankind’s most vital resource.”
The National Interest
“A tour de force. . . . Thoughtful. . . . Well-written. . . . Solomon shows that when the incentives are right—where governments and markets are allowed to focus on the real costs of and opportunities for using water resources—much better management of water systems follows.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060548308
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/05/2010
Pages:
596
Sales rank:
220,434
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.60(d)

What People are Saying About This

Douglas Brinkley
“Steven Solomon has written a riveting historical manifesto on behalf of Water Power. His sweeping narrative, covering centuries, is awe-inspiring. I learned a tremendous amount of usable knowledge from this fine work.”
Daniel Yergin
“ Steve Solomon also defines the critical challenges of waterand the need for new thinkingfor nations and peoples around the world, both for today and in the future.” —Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: the Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power
Bill McKibben
“This volume will give you the background to understand the forces that will drive much of 21st century history.”

Meet the Author

Steven Solomon is a journalist who has written for The New York Times, BusinessWeek, The Economist, Forbes, and Esquire, and has commented on NPR's Marketplace. He is also the author of The Confidence Game. Solomon lives in Washington, D.C.

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Water 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
sborrowman More than 1 year ago
Steven Solomon's engaging and wide ranging Water, the Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization, presents a fascinating lens on human history by focusing on the role of water as related to agricultural and military technology, trade, and frequently unpredictable catalyst of change. The book covers both history, and in the last chapter, current issues, with some predictions. I liked the history the best. I really enjoyed the discussion of the role of good or bad Nile floods in the history of Egypt, Rome, and the Muslim world as contrasted with irrigation in the Fertile Crescent and early Europe. Solomon makes a compelling case that water use and technology was instrumental in the rise of human civilization. It also puts into perspective that old interest in having the desert bloom. There is a thorough review of some of the defining economic, political, and military events in history and how water use played into those events, primarily related to navigation and trade, the rise of European sea power to protect those trade routes, and how success or failure on the seas shaped political history. I really enjoyed the discussion of water power in the American Revolution, including the luck of timing. Some reviews suggest that the discussions of navigation and naval power are unrelated to the overall discussion of water usage. Maybe. But it's fascinating and fits with the effort to make a history of the world's relationship with water. And it sets up the discussions of technology like the steam engine that are critical to the overall thesis about man's relationship with water as related to technology. There is a certain bias for market economies that may be justifiable, but is never justified. Rather, it is presented as the inevitable best choice. In the discussion of the United States, particularly the dry West, the book describes in detail the primary role of government in securing finance and overcoming market weaknesses to yoke the Colorado and other great western rivers. The Hoover Dam section is fascinating. The book argues that the government-lead approach is faltering based on modern market forces, but doesn't present good proof of that. The only example is the Imperial Valley selling part of its Colorado River allotment to San Diego, but there was still a lot of government involvement in that. There is considerable current evidence that federal and state government policies favoring particular types of agriculture distort market forces. While I love almonds, I’m concerned about their intense water footprint. But alfalfa is also super water intensive and is primarily used for livestock, and yet government policy does so much to support cattle ranching. The last section on current water challenges is sobering. As California struggles with a massive drought, the discussion is timely and scary. I certainly hope that technology can help address our water shortages, especially given that current estimates have us in for a dry spell. Farmer family members say that there can't be water in heaven or people will fight over it. This book shows that geopolitics is consistent with farmers. I hope that Solomon is right to hope. In the meantime, I'm taking a serious look at my water usage, including what foods I chose to eat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago