Rain: A Natural and Cultural History
It is the subject of countless poems and paintings; the top of the weather report; the source of all the world's water. Yet this is the first book to tell the story of rain.
Cynthia Barnett's Rain begins four billion years ago with the torrents that filled the oceans, and builds to the storms of climate change. It weaves together science – the true shape of a raindrop, the mysteries of frog and fish rains – with the human story of our ambition to control rain, from ancient rain dances to the 2,203 miles of levees that attempt to straitjacket the Mississippi River. It offers a glimpse of our "founding forecaster," Thomas Jefferson, who measured every drizzle long before modern meteorology. Two centuries later, rainy skies would help inspire Morrissey’s mopes and Kurt Cobain’s grunge. Rain is also a travelogue, taking readers to Scotland to tell the surprising story of the mackintosh raincoat, and to India, where villagers extract the scent of rain from the monsoon-drenched earth and turn it into perfume.
Now, after thousands of years spent praying for rain or worshiping it; burning witches at the stake to stop rain or sacrificing small children to bring it; mocking rain with irrigated agriculture and cities built in floodplains; even trying to blast rain out of the sky
Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis
Blue Revolution makes the case for a water ethic for America. From backyard waterfalls and grottoes in California to sinkholes swallowing chunks of Florida, award-winning journalist Cynthia Barnett exposes how the nation’s green craze largely missed water – the No. 1 environmental concern of most Americans. But the book is big on inspiration, too. Blue Revolution combines investigative reporting with solutions from around the nation and the globe. From San Antonio to Singapore, Barnett shows how local communities and entire nations have come together in a shared ethic to dramatically reduce consumption and live within their water means.
Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.
Florida's parched swamps and sprawling subdivisions set the stage for a look at water crisis throughout the American East, from water-diversion threats in the Great Lakes to tapped-out freshwater aquifers along the Atlantic seaboard. Part investigative journalism, part environmental history, Mirage shows how the eastern half of the nation, historically so wet that early settlers predicted it would never even need irrigation, has squandered so much of its abundant fresh water that it now faces shortages and conflicts once unique to the arid West. From its calamitous opening scene of a sinkhole swallowing a house in Florida to its concluding meditation on the relationship between water and the American character, Mirage is a compelling and timely portrait of the use and abuse of fresh water in an era of rapidly vanishing natural resources.