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Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S. Paperback – April 21, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press/Regional; Reprint edition (April 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0472033034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0472033034
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #564,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In recent decades, severe droughts in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, along with shrinking aquifers, dried-up lakes and sluggish rivers in the Southeast have induced bitter East Coast fights over what was once an exclusively Western concern: water scarcity. What happened? Barnett, the long-time environmental reporter for Florida Trend magazine, answers that question in a rigorous look at the relentless pressure of development and burgeoning human populations on natural water supplies, particularly in the wetlands of Florida. Chapter by chapter, Barnett documents the enlarging sinkholes, loss of ancient lakes, pollution of water tables and river systems, aquifer mining and negligent politics that have led to Florida's perpetual water crisis-including a disastrous shift in weather patterns. Considering such crises elsewhere in the U.S., Barnett finds that successful allocation agreements are rare, lessons learned are quickly forgotten and an ever-growing population spells more trouble to come. Though it may lack popular appeal, this comprehensive and well-referenced volume does feature appearances from well-known figures like Walt Disney, Jeb Bush and Hurricane Katrina, and should become vital reading for citizens and policymakers as global concerns over water scarcity grow.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"In the days before the Internet, books like Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and Marjory Stoneman Douglas' River of Grass were groundbreaking calls to action that made citizens and politicians take notice. Mirage is such a book." - St. Petersburg Times Never before has the case been more compellingly made that America's dependence on a free and abundant water supply has become an illusion. Cynthia Barnett does it by telling us the stories of the amazing personalities behind our water wars, the stunning contradictions that allow the wettest state to have the most watered lawns, and the thorough research that makes her conclusions inescapable. Barnett has established herself as one of Florida's best journalists and Mirage is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of the state." - Mary Ellen Klas, Capital Bureau Chief, Miami Herald "Mirage is the finest general study to date of the freshwater-supply crisis in Florida. Well-meaning villains abound in Cynthia Barnett's story, but so too do heroes, such as Arthur R. Marshall Jr., Nathaniel Reed, and Marjorie Harris Carr. The author's research is as thorough as her prose is graceful. Drinking water is the new oil. Get used to it." - Michael Gannon, Distinguished Professor of History, University of Florida, and author of Florida: A Short History "A rigorous look at the relentless pressure of development and burgeoning human populations on natural water supplies, particularly in the wetlands of Florida.... Barnett finds that successful allocation agreements are rare, lessons learned are quickly forgotten and an ever-growing population spells more trouble to come...." - Publishers Weekly "History, policy analysis and explanation in one, written accessibly for the interested layperson.... a great reminder that our profligate ways could lead us into (more) serious trouble." - Solares Hill (Florida)"

More About the Author

Cynthia Barnett, the author of "Blue Revolution: Unmaking America's Water Crisis" (Beacon Press, 2011), is a long-time journalist whose awards include a national Sigma Delta Chi prize for investigative magazine reporting and eight Green Eyeshades, which recognize outstanding journalism in the Southeast. Her first book, Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S., won the gold medal for best nonfiction in the Florida Book Awards and was a "One Region/One Book" selection in thirty Florida counties. Barnett earned a master's degree in environmental history and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying water. She lives with her family in Gainesville, Florida.

For more information, please visit the author's website at www.cynthiabarnett.net.

Photographer Photo Credit Name: Gregg Matthews, 2012.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The book is a must read for Floridians.
Scemel
This is a great book, and it will open many people's eyes to the need to be smarter with what she wisely calls, "Our greatest natural resource."
Prof Pigeon
This is a very well written book full of great information.
Sharkl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Prof Pigeon on April 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Barnett, an experienced journalist, currently writing for a Florida business magazine, has put together a compelling tale of the drying out of the Eastern seaboard of the United States. Her main emphasis is Florida, once so wet that it couldn't be walked through, now - because of staggering population growth and mismanaged development - plagued by repeated droughts. Before I read this book I had no idea there was a story to be told about water supply in the East - and I certainly wouldn't have guessed that I would have found that story to be so engrossing. But Barnett has a journalist's eye for the telling detail, combined with a sharp appreciation of the science, and a great feel for the overall picture. This is a great book, and it will open many people's eyes to the need to be smarter with what she wisely calls, "Our greatest natural resource."
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scemel on July 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Perhaps you're like me. You live in a water rich region of the U.S., on top of one of the nation's most productive aquifers and a stone's throw from the Great Lakes -- one of the world's great reservoirs of fresh water.

Water scarcity is not your problem, right? Let all those fools moving to Florida, Texas, California and Nevada worry whether FEMA will have to roll into towns during the next drought and pass out bottled water. You can still turn on your grass sprinkler and catch fish in the local pond without worry.

If that's where you are when it comes to water, Cynthia Barnett has news for you -- someday Las Vegas and Miami will be coming for your water, too. And they'll set their sights on draining your fish pond dry.

If you're already in Florida and can't understand why water bills are going up in a subdivision surrounded by water-soaked scenery, Barnett has some tough love for you, too.

Reading Mirage will open your eyes. Barnett's writing is so (pardon the pun) fluid that even the most unsophisticated novice will come away with the ability to confidently explain why bottled "spring" water may actually be less safe to drink than what comes out of your kitchen tap.

The book is a must read for Floridians. It uses the state -- an extreme example of water policy gone bad -- to instruct readers in the basics tenents of environmental protection and why it matters to everyone. Why should Floridians care if Atlanta suburbanites water their lawns? Because in a drought the rivers that begin in Georgia won't have enough water to feed Florida's bays down stream. And without the perfect freshwater/saltwater balance at the outlet to the Gulf of Mexico, valuable shellfish are completely wiped out. Suddenly there's an economic problem, too.
Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Mihran J. Ohanian on April 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This an excellent expose of the fresh water availability crisis faced by Florida as its population growth continues unabated. Also, it addresses very well the overall water supply problems of the Eastern United States while focusing on Florida as the prime example of poor planning. Based on her extensive experience as an award winning investigative journalist Cynthia Barnett has written about a critical national problem which she has extensively researched and documented. The hard facts are interspersed with interesting vignettes about several important Florida personalities who had major impacts, for better or worse, on all facets of the State's natural environment. This is a highly readable and very informative book. It is a must read book for anyone who wants to truly understand the fresh water crisis we face in America and the unfortunate legacy we would leave to future generations without proactive solutions.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Donald Miles on June 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
'MIRAGE': This book is a fascinating read. It is shocking, frightening, and sad. We in the East who think water is plentiful and inexhaustible and that 'water battles' occur only in the West will see a very different picture. The book is full of facts and extensively footnoted. It should be the 'call to arms' not only for the experts but for the silent majority. (eg the 'Silent Spring' of water). A tidbit: Pinellas County Florida (St. Petersburg) has no remaining drinkable ground water!) Don Miles, Raleigh, NC. Layman in 'Water' but I love the stuff!
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Format: Hardcover
Discussions of America's water problems usually are limited to the West, so it's eye-opening to view a title which is the first to call attention to the disappearance of fresh water from Florida to the Great Lakes. From the high demands of newly-sprawling Florida subdivisions to freshwater aquifers which are disappearing elsewhere, MIRAGE blends investigative journalism with environmental and science history to prove an essential survey of problems and solutions. A 'must' not just for Eastern U.S. libraries, but for any collection on environmental issues and challenges.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Valley Dude on January 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very thoughtful, well-written book that delves into the science, history and politics of water in Florida and manages to do so in an interesting and readable manner. Cynthia Barnett clearly indentifies the problems and offers reasonable solutions without becoming judgemental or dogmatic. A must read for anyone living in the State of Florida or planning to do so and highly recommended for everyone else!
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