Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
|New from||Used from|
Five thousand years of rising and falling civilizations flow through Fagan's sweeping survey of man's ability to harness water. From the stirrings of agricultural settlements in the Euphrates Valley to the canny manipulation that sent the Owens River's flow to a tiny California town called Los Angeles at the start of the 20th century, Fagan (The Great Warming), an archeologist, digs down into our relationship to water sources, pointing out that "water is capricious and powerful, far more masterful than the humans and animals that depend on it." However, this survey veers unevenly, offering vivid descriptions of the hazards of channeling water in prehistoric northern Iraq, of water distribution in traditional Balinese governance structures, of Middle Eastern irrigation engineering that becomes mired in measurements and dimensions. Fagan prompts an appreciation of water's centrality to civilization and of human ingenuity, but his topic is so broad and his treatment so dry that his conclusion—a call for a profound realignment of an increasingly urban world with its dwindling water supplies—lacks the impact it deserves. (June)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
As always with Mr. Fagan's work, the range is dazzling, the focus sharp and the pictures vivid...The author holds us with his glittering eye, as he conjures a vision of a world with water everywhere, nor any drop to drink. (Wall Street Journal)
Juxtaposes ancient and contemporary cultures' veneration of water with the current commodification of it …Fagan is a passionate and lively writer. (Los Angeles Times)
… examines societies' relationships with water since ancient times, and describes how the advance of technology has led to unsustainable management and depletion of our most valuable resource. (Chronicle of Higher Education)
It is hard to imagine industrial societies regaining some sense of water as sacred. The best we might hope for in the near term is a new-found respect for water. Reading Fagan's book is an enjoyable way of gaining that respect, by taking a tour through the hard-won lessons of the past. (Nature Climate Change)
Eye-opening….making sense of water and its place in the development of civilization....[Fagan] understands how the ancients struggled with changing climate and that what matters has always been the fluctuating availability of water, rather than shifting temperatures. That is an important lesson for us now. (Washington Post)
Supplying intriguing historical background, Fagan well informs those pondering freshwater's role in contemporary environmental problems. (Booklist)
Important and, from a New York Times best-selling author, accessible to all. (Library Journal)
Fagan prompts an appreciation of water's centrality to civilization and of human ingenuity. (Publishers Weekly)
A rewarding survey of water's role in history and contemporary politics alike. (Kirkus)
Not just a fascinating book, but also an important one… [a] marvelous history… Don't take water or Elixir for granted. Give this important book a read--and then maybe send a copy to your local representative or senator. (Mother Nature Network)
At a time of increasing threats of regional 'water wars,' Elixir provides crucial temporal depth and worldwide scope to an emerging water scarcity crisis that we can no longer ignore. Fagan's detailed examination of past use and abuse of water--highlighted by personal experience--makes his book not only a major source on the subject but, as usual, enjoyable reading. (R. Gwinn Vivian, curator emeritus of archaeology, Arizona State Museum, author of The Chaco Handbook)
[Fagan] is a beguiling writer and his lessons from global experience are both refreshing and sobering. (Daily Express (UK))
A comprehensive look at the history of water control… there are places on the earth today where our water control systems are breaking down, and most of us don't yet recognize how devastating the effects of that will be. Elixir helps that realization… This book is one of the best pop science books I've read in a long time…there is much to reread and contemplate. (About.com)
The author describes irrigation systems and water usage in a variety of past civilizations around the globe to illustrate the historical value placed on having water. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Morris L. Marshall
If you'll pardon the pun, this book is rather dry.
Much of it reads like a PhD dissertation in anthropology or archeology. Read more
The first few chapters are slow and the author seems intent on impressing us with his research rather than tying humans' advancement with water handling into some kind of history. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lynn A. Ellsworth
You never know what you're going to get with a book by Fagan. This book offers an impressive historical range, largely agricultural use of water. Read morePublished 7 months ago by lyndonbrecht
An extraordinary book. It awaken our sense of duty with nature.Published 14 months ago by Miguel A. Rivera Rios
So, this is not a book about water. If you're expecting that, check back to the book description. Elixir is less about how water shaped civilizations, and more about how... Read morePublished 14 months ago by querkan
This book was written in a very boring style. I hoped that it would eventually get better, or reach some conclusion, or make some recommendations as to the future, but,... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Frank Alexander
A look at how different civilizations in different eras have allocated and managed water resources, including during times of increased pressure upon the resource, this falls in... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Melina Watts
The subject is both interesting and worthwhile to explore but I found this the hardest one of Brian Fagan to read. Read morePublished 18 months ago by broad spectrum music lover