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A Land On Fire: The Environmental Consequences Of The Southeast Asian Boom Hardcover – April 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books (April 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813340535
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813340531
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,767,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fahn, a longtime environmental editor for the Nation, an English-language Bangkok daily newspaper, bases this study of the precarious state of Southeast Asia's environment on his own research. Focusing on Thailand, Fahn demonstrates how industrialization and the expanding economy turned Bangkok, Thailand's capital, into a congested, traffic-choked city, with dangerously polluted air. The sharp increase in tourism has resulted in overdevelopment of formerly pristine beaches, the destruction of coral reefs and a construction boom in golf courses that require enormous amounts of water (a scarce resource) and ground chemicals that leach into and pollute the surrounding water supply. In nuanced and nonjudgmental language, the author examines how unrestricted logging so decimated Thai forests that timber began to be illegally smuggled from Burma. While the writing is dense, Fahn clearly explains the complex environmental problems in Southeast Asia. Although regulations exist to protect Thailand's environment, government corruption has weakened their enforcement. With a large poor population, Thailand lacks a substantial middle class that, in developed countries, can successfully advocate for cleaner air and water. The author also points out that Asia as well as Africa and Latin America will suffer the most from a worldwide warming trend. According to Fahn, the best hope for the world's environment lies in global cooperation.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Fahn clearly explains the complex environmental problems in Southeast Asia." -- Publishers Weekly

"This well-written publication offers many interesting anecdotes about Thailand." -- Choice --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A Land on Fire is a superb book - informative, rich in detail, and readable. It traces Southeast Asia's environmental challenges through a treasure of engaging stories. In the narrative we meet all kinds of people - farmers, fishermen, indigenous leaders, eco tourism operators, loggers, government foresters, journalists, oil riggers. Woven tightly together with journalistic skill, their stories tell us much about the environmental crisis setting upon Southeast Asia.
Thailand is a country I have lived in and know well. From the first page to the last, Fahn shows a profound understanding of the country, a respect for its special qualities, and a passion for preserving its environmental heritage.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Newbian on July 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fahn's personal anecdotes add color to his solid research about a country, its people and a culture he got to know well over many years. Personally, I thought it was refreshing to get information from someone who's actually been on the ground and seen a situation -- rather than from someone who draws their conclusions from someone else's study results. He includes info from a variety of sources, but not at the expense of first-hand knowledge. Also liked the way that he explained how he got some of his stories -- what a reporter has to do in a developing country, where corporate interests sometimes make it dangerous just to report on a problem.
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Format: Paperback
First of all, the title is misleading - this book is almost exclusively about Thailand (and its impact on neighbors). It does not cover insular Southeast Asia as well. Other than that, this is a great account of environmental politics in Thailand during the 1990s. It's well written and really goes into the details of particular cases and scandals. It will probably have most value for students of environmental politics and historians.
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By Scot Donaldson on May 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Jim Fahn details Thailand's uneasy embrace of globalization in the '90s with a Thomas Friedman-like awareness. He celebrates Southeast Asia's torrid economic rise, its bloody battles for democracy and its struggles for cultural self-determinism with an unflinching eye on the wrecking ball.
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