A History of Water and Humankind
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“We never know the worth of water till the well is dry,” wrote Thomas Fuller in 1732, but humanity’s history proves otherwise. As Brian Fagan shows in Elixir, water has served as our most vital resource and shaped our societies. Spanning 5,000 years, the book plots water’s use from the dawn of civilization to today’s Sun Belt.
For early hunter-gatherers, knowing where to find water was a matter of life and death. The “songlines” of Australia’s Aborigines define the landscape as a map of sacred water sources. In many agricultural societies, a communal “water philosophy” surrounded the resource with social traditions that preserve fair access for people upstream and down. Fagan’s narrative moves from the Greeks and Romans, whose mighty aqueducts still water modern cities, to China, where emperors marshaled armies of laborers to tame the country’s powerful rivers; from the ingenious uses of water in medieval Europe to the Industrial Revolution, which turned water into a commodity to be bought, sold and exploited; and into the 20th century, when technology allowed the American desert to sparkle with swimming pools and lush golf courses.
Elixir offers an engrossing look at the liquid of life.
Hardcover Book : 416 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA ( June 07, 2011 )
Item #: 13-332317
Product Dimensions: 6.125 x 9.25 x 1.04inches
Product Weight: 20.0 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)