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Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Paperback – November 15, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (November 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933392584
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933392585
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,014,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ott, a former Prince William Sound fisherman and longtime activist around the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill of 1989, pours plenty of passion into this exhaustive account of the financial and psychological toll on the residents of Cordova, the town most affected by the disaster. Her book is a scathing indictment of Exxon's take-no-prisoners legal roadblocks. She enumerates the full horror of the spill's aftermath: the 1989 loss of $50 million in fishery revenue, a botched cleanup effort, the onslaught of oil-company lobbyists and continuing fish habitat degradation. Ott focuses on Cordova's struggle to rebuild a sense of community while coping with personal bankruptcies and failing marriages, and covers the legal skirmishing for compensation for the more than 3,000 fishermen who filed claims, closing with a melancholy coda following the Supreme Court's decision to reduce the original jury award against Exxon from more than $5 billion to about $500 million—devastating news for those whose lives entered a state of turmoil some 19 years ago. Though Ott's narrative is often bogged down with too much detail, she covers an enormous amount of ground with engaging humanity. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“As you read the following pages, allow your heart to break. Imagine Cordova as your home and Prince William Sound as your backyard. When you set the book down, make an absolute, iron-clad commitment to join other men and women who are determined to create a world that future generations will want to inhabit.”--John Perkins, from the Foreword



Publishers Weekly-
Ott, a former Prince William Sound fisherman and longtime activist around the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill of 1989, pours plenty of passion into this exhaustive account of the financial and psychological toll on the residents of Cordova, the town most affected by the disaster. Her book is a scathing indictment of Exxon's take-no-prisoners legal roadblocks. She enumerates the full horror of the spill's aftermath: the 1989 loss of $50 million in fishery revenue, a botched cleanup effort, the onslaught of oil-company lobbyists and continuing fish habitat degradation. Ott focuses on Cordova's struggle to rebuild a sense of community while coping with personal bankruptcies and failing marriages, and covers the legal skirmishing for compensation for the more than 3,000 fishermen who filed claims, closing with a melancholy coda following the Supreme Court's decision to reduce the original jury award against Exxon from more than $5 billion to about $500 million--"devastating news" for those "whose lives entered a state of turmoil some 19 years ago." Though Ott's narrative is often bogged down with too much detail, she covers an enormous amount of ground with engaging humanity.






Choice-
Not One Drop is a gripping story of what happened in Cordova, a small fishing village of some 2,500 people, as a result of the 4.11 million gallons of oil spilled from the Exxon Valdez tanker into Prince William Sound on March 14, 1989. Developed from interviews with townspeople, state and federal officials, and politicians, this book describes a classic case of the worst of commercialism versus the best of environmentalism, with the former aided and abetted by those with vested interests. Beginning with a description of marine biologist Ott's idyllic but demanding life in commercial fishing, the four subsequent parts of the work, "Promises," "Betrayal," "Courage," and "New Beginnings," provide a comprehensive inventory of the events that devastated the social fabric of Cordova. The superbly detailed "Timeline" covers the 1968 discovery of oil on the Alaska North Slope up to the June 25, 2008, Supreme Court decision limiting punitive damages from the spill. The book includes color photographs of happy and sad times as well as ones showing oil-slicked waterfowl and humans, many of whom suffered from a respiratory condition known as "Valdez Crud." Detailed listing of supporting notes and excellent index. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels of readership.




"Millions of words have been written about the Exxon Valdez spill. It's been my (sometimes dreary and depressing) duty to read most of them. But of all the official reports, learned papers, TV documentaries, newspaper articles and books, this is by far the best. Riki has written her masterpiece. It's not just about an oil spill and about its dire effects on a community of a few thousand fishing families in a remote and beautiful corner of the North Pacific; it's bigger than that. The themes are community values and corporate lies; the endless tussle between truth and falsehood, between good and evil.Surprisingly, Riki's long-awaited book is more cheerful than I expected; she meticulously logs the catastrophe and its aftermath (and hints at the sacrifices in her personal life that all this campaigning entailed), but out of the despair there is hope here--hope that a better-informed, more vigilant and more self-confident public will follow her example and challenge the corporate arrogance that continues to make so many people's lives an avoidable misery, worldwide."--Dr. Jonathan Wills, writer, wildlife guide, and Shetland (Scotland) Councillor




"Riki Ott, a modern day Joan of Arc, was in the right place at the right time to become witness to one of the most egregious crimes against man and nature in modern day history. Riki has proven through her willingness to expose the corporate corruption and cover up of the Exxon Valdez oil spill that she is a courageous, caring, and passionate voice for the people and the planet."--Laura Turner Seydel, Chair of the Captain Planet Foundation and cofounder of Mothers & Others for Clean Air






"Aldo Leopold wrote, 'A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.'The tragic Exxon Valdez oil spill is wrong!Riki Ott is the right person--at the right place--at the right time. Her expertise as an author and as a marine toxicologist alerts us to the true cost of our addiction to oil--not just monetary cost, but ecological cost. Democracy and the planet are at stake."--Nina Bradley, Director of the Aldo Leopold Foundation




"Ott is the Erin Brockovitch of the Exxon Valdez oil disaster. In Not One Drop she recounts a riveting tale of loss, intrigue, cover-ups, and courage--and in the process helps us all see why we will be glad to leave behind the age of oil."--Fran Korten, Publisher of YES! Magazine




"Riki Ott takes the debate on fossil fuels to a new level in this compelling book. When will the oil companies wake up to realize that--just as U.S. car companies missed the boat on fuel efficient cars--the ExxonMobils of the world need to diversify the types of energy they offer? Somehow, the people of Cordova, Alaska, knew the truth before the oil executives or the politicians they elected."--David Rockefeller, Jr., Founder, Sailors for the Sea




"Not One Drop unflinchingly documents the full measure of sacrifice made by a few so the rest of us can get our next fix of oil. The price at the pump must now also be measured in shattered communities and our humanity itself. Bravo to Riki Ott for delivering another knockout punch to our petroleum-powered complacency."--Terry Tamminen, Cullman Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, and former Secretary of the California EPA


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The author's approach makes this a very interesting and accessible book.
Bryan Newman
This book appears to be the blue print of what we can expect from BP, state & federal government....and the forecast is dire.
AntBee
My biases are pretty obvious but I do think that everyone, regardless of their biases, will get something out of the book.
Margaret Durbin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Having read quite a few books focusing on various disasters in this nation during the past century it certainly comes as no surprise to me that nearly two decades after the calamity in Prince William Sound the people of Cordova, Alaska have yet to be made whole. In my reading I consistantly found that the investigation of these events is more often than not perverted by corporate collusion, broken promises, curious judicial rulings and paid off politicians. It seems that the rich and powerful will resort to any means at their disposal to avoid taking responsibility for their greed, negligence and stupidity. "Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill" is the gut-wrenching story of lost livelihoods, broken families, shattered dreams and a spoiled environment. Author Riki Ott visited Cordova just a few short years before the spill, fell in love with the place and decided to make this town her permanent home. Riki had a PhD in marine biology and was a commerical fisherman to boot. As such, she is someone uniquely qualified to tell the sorry story of the Exxon Valdez tragedy. She knew the right questions to ask and was painfully aware of the likely consequences of the massive oil spill. What has happened to the people of Cordova and the surrounding area will more than likely anger and sadden you.

Oddly enough, as the Exxon Valdez set sail with a full load of crude on the evening of March 23, 1989, Riki Ott was addressing a group of Valdez residents on what would happen should a major spill ever occur. As a matter of fact, Riki put it this way to her audience "Gentlemen, it's not if, it's when." It was not more than an hour or two later that the environmental nightmare that would forever change Prince William Sound would begin.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Sibley VINE VOICE on November 7, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Exxon-Valdez oil spill impacted, among other places, Cordova, Alaska, located on the Prince william Sound. Disasters, Katrina, Chernobyl, Exxon-Valdez cause loss of life and environmental degradation. Damage to social networks is also involved.

Cordova is a small fishing community. The author's father had been among the last students of Aldo Leopold. Following the acquisition of a Ph.D. in marine biology toxicology, the author went partners in a fishing boat in Alaska. Fishermen swap stories, (there are a lot of perfect storms in Alaska). Watching wildlife is a fringe benefit of fishing.

On the AMBERGRIS, the author's boat, neither partner was skipper, they didn't know enough. The second four months of their first fishing season was successful for the author, Riki Ott, and her partner. Riki got to meet other women at the Fishermen's Cooperative barbecue.

The largest oil discovery in North America took place at Prudhoe Bay. Valdez is the terminal of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Ted Stevens claimed to the fishermen that not one drop of oil would touch the waters of Prince William Sound. Valdez, like Cordova, is situated on the sound.

On March 24, 1989, the Exxon-Valdez tanker was grounded off Bligh Reef. Four point five million gallons of oil gushed from the tanker. Oil was two feet higher than the surrounding sea.

Trauma memory trumps other memory. A storm a few days after the grounding on the Bligh Reef pushed oil through the Prince William Sound. (The response plan proved inadequate to the size of the disaster.)

One-third of the fishing fleet worked on the clean-up, but not Riki Ott and her partner. Discussions of whether or not to accept Exxon money eroded social solidarity.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sterghe VINE VOICE on December 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Fresh out of graduate school, a young Riki Ott sought respite from academia by joining a salmon-fishing crew in Alaska. "Hooked" on the joy and excitement of the salmon runs, she bought a boat with a partner and settled in to build a life for herself as a fisherwoman in Prince William Sound. Making an effort to become part of her new community, she attended a few local political meetings. When the old-timers raised concerns about Alyeska's oil-producing activities, Riki's academic background resurfaced: "Maybe I can help there ... I have a master's in oil pollution and a doctorate in sediment pollution." Her stunned neighbors promptly voted her onto their organization's board, passed her a towering stack of papers, and--in the case of the now-former lead person on the Alyeska issues--made plans to go moose hunting.

Two years later came news headlines about the Exxon-Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, and Riki was right in the middle of the chaos of an entire community's shattered lives. Not One Drop chronicles how, over the next two decades, she and others fought to restore to the families of the small fishing community all that had been stolen when a tanker crashed and broken promises spilled across human lives as thickly as oil coated once-pristine beaches. Riki's firsthand account ranges from makeshift office space to Congressional offices in Washington, DC, from the sweeping wilds of Alaska's remote spaces to the crowded pen of her Dallas prison cell. Everpresent are the friends and neighbors struggling to regain their footing in Cordova, Alaska.
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