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Far more than oil, the control of water wealth throughout history has been pivotal to the rise and fall of great powers, the achievements of civilization, the transformations of society's vital habitats, and the quality of ordinary daily lives. In Water, Steven Solomon offers the first-ever narrative portrait of the power struggles, personalities, and breakthroughs that have shaped humanity from antiquity's earliest civilizations, the Roman Empire, medieval China, and Islam's golden age to Europe's rise, the steam-powered Industrial Revolution, and America's century. Today, freshwater scarcity is one of the twenty-first century's decisive, looming challenges and is driving the new political, economic, and environmental realities across the globe.

As modern society runs short of its most indispensable resource and the planet's renewable water ecosystems grow depleted, an explosive new fault line is dividing humanity into water Haves and Have-nots. Genocides, epidemic diseases, failed states, and civil warfare increasingly emanate from water-starved, overpopulated parts of Africa and Asia. Water famines threaten to ignite new wars in the bone-dry Middle East. Faltering clean water supplies menace the sustainable growth and ability of China and India to feed themselves. Water scarcity is inseparably interrelated to the global crises of energy, food, and climate change. For Western democracies, water represents no less than the new oil—demanding a major rethink of basic domestic and foreign policies—but also offering a momentous opportunity to relaunch wealth and global leadership through exploiting a comparative advantage in freshwater reserves. Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Steven Solomon's Water is a groundbreaking account of man's most critical resource in shaping human destinies, from ancient times to our dawning age of water scarcity.

Published: HarperCollins on Jan 5, 2010
ISBN: 9780061994784
List price: $11.99
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The information in the book was really good, and I am glad I read it. The Author was quite prophetic in some areas - A few of the events he predicted have already happened. It took me almost two years to read - it was pretty dry and tough to get through, and I love non-fiction.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Useful information, but presented somewhat dryly (and with the author far too in love with the word "precocious"). Still, if you still have any doubts that the rest of this century will be defined almost entirely by water, this book will dispel them.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization by Steven Solomon is a rolling account of humanity and our supreme dependence on water. Both ancient and modern society’s success is inextricably linked to water - for sustaining life, industrial advancement and as a medium for promoting trade and commerce.This is a book that cannot be read in quick time but should be digested in portions to truly absorb the detailed narrative. Considering the vast scope available to the author he has done a good job in selecting those key moments in history that exemplify our relationship with water. At times I felt there were some fairly unconvincing assumptions made by this author – particularly in relation to the downfall of certain civilisations and societies where water mismanagement may have only been part of the cause.Whilst Steven Solomon presents some rather sobering facts on current water use and makes a few predictions of catastrophe, this is balanced by the many positive ideas and concepts now emerging. The growing ‘soft path’ approach which comprises a greater environmental and ecosystem awareness will hopefully steer our ever increasing populations from the path to ruin.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

The information in the book was really good, and I am glad I read it. The Author was quite prophetic in some areas - A few of the events he predicted have already happened. It took me almost two years to read - it was pretty dry and tough to get through, and I love non-fiction.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I wanted to like this book more than I did. Useful information, but presented somewhat dryly (and with the author far too in love with the word "precocious"). Still, if you still have any doubts that the rest of this century will be defined almost entirely by water, this book will dispel them.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization by Steven Solomon is a rolling account of humanity and our supreme dependence on water. Both ancient and modern society’s success is inextricably linked to water - for sustaining life, industrial advancement and as a medium for promoting trade and commerce.This is a book that cannot be read in quick time but should be digested in portions to truly absorb the detailed narrative. Considering the vast scope available to the author he has done a good job in selecting those key moments in history that exemplify our relationship with water. At times I felt there were some fairly unconvincing assumptions made by this author – particularly in relation to the downfall of certain civilisations and societies where water mismanagement may have only been part of the cause.Whilst Steven Solomon presents some rather sobering facts on current water use and makes a few predictions of catastrophe, this is balanced by the many positive ideas and concepts now emerging. The growing ‘soft path’ approach which comprises a greater environmental and ecosystem awareness will hopefully steer our ever increasing populations from the path to ruin.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I learned a lot from this book, and it has been an important source of inspiration, as I am in the process of making a career in the field of water engineering.I loved the historical analysis, and particularly the theory of 'hydrological determinism' or how differing hydrological environments can foster different sorts of societies.The latter parts of the book felt rushed and a touch confused. Nonetheless, much of value was brought to light (for me) regarding present-day water-related struggles.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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