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Book Review of: Blue Revolution
Unmaking America's Water Crisis
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Blue Revolution, by Author (Hardcover, 2011)|
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I recommend this book to everyone in every walk of life and in every age group.
Ms. Barnett author did a thorough job of research and carefully crafted her writing to deliver a factual work that keeps the reader engaged. The topic is crucial and may soon be "the" crucial topic in our society. Incidentally, during the time I read this book, I also watched a water documentary from about ten years ago. What's scary is there hasn't been a whole lot of progress in that time.
This subject is one of the "big three" emerging crises of our time (gangsta government and peak oil are the other two). As with the way private corporations create gangsta government via buying public officials, we are already seeing private corporations steal water the same way.
In Central America, water theft ("privatization") devastated one community that was doing just fine prior to the takeover. Closer to home, Nestle Corporation bought a superior court judge in Wisconsin so it could overturn a lower court ruling and continue its unconscionable and devastating theft of central Wisconsin water. Can you say "boycott?"
And this brings me to one of three smallish problems with this book.
None of the three problems detract from the author's main thesis. She also used good logic and drew from a comprehensive body of research. That bears some comment. In research, some sources are better than others. A primary source is the best; it's the original research or the original statement. Secondary sources are things like a trade journal that reports on what was said or done. A tertiary source is where someone gets information from other sources.
I made a quick perusal through her relatively large bibliography (30 pages of tiny text for a 229 page book is pretty serious) and it looked like mostly primary sources. Wow! It didn't take me long to read this book (at least, with her engaging writing style it did not feel like very long), but it's obvious she put enormous amounts of time into it. And she was serious about getting her facts right. In addition to heavily tapping primary sources, she didn't follow today's convention of using invalid sources.
If you're looking for a list of 50 steps you can take to reduce water waste, that's not what she wrote about. She did mention such things as changing your landscaping, watering grass less, and using a rain barrel or other rain capture system. For particular things you can do, you just need to have the desire to do a little research on your own. It's easy enough to find that info. The author does have her own Website (you can easily find it), but it's not where you would find this kind of info.
A subject I've been deeply involved in for many years is industrial safety, and what's key there is to get the right mindset. Ms. Barnett is taking this same approach to the impending water crisis. It's obvious that we don't yet have a water ethic in our culture. As Ms. Barnett pointed out, we got a national ethic with littering--consequently, people just don't litter like they used to and litter laws are beside the point. In safety, it's exactly that way--people with the right attitude think about their actions, and safety "regulations" are beside the point.
Now is the time to work on your own water ethic and to spread that to others in your sphere of influence. This book can greatly assist you in that endeavor.
Blue Revolution consists of 12 chapters spanning 229 pages. It has an extensive bibliography and an index. Immediately following the text is the best "Acknowledgement" I have ever read. Instead of a laundry list of names and superlatives, it tells a story. And tells it well.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.