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A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout Hardcover – April 19, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0307887351 ISBN-10: 0307887359 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (April 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307887359
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307887351
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,095,495 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

MacArthur "Genius" Award–winning oceanographer and conservationist Safina offers an impassioned, on the ground chronicle of the 2010 Gulf oil blowout that surpassed Exxon-Valdez to rank as the worst in history. He breaks down the political and corporate causes and the environmental effects of the spill: the bedding together of government and Big Oil that produced the perfect storm of deregulation and drilling incentives; the intricate chain of misjudgments by BP, Transocean, and Halliburton; the mind-boggling amount of oil—4.9 billion barrels—that gushed into the Gulf of Mexico; the numbers of dolphins, birds, and sea turtles that perished; the rig workers, fishermen, bait shop owners, and restaurateurs who lost their lives or businesses to the spill. Safina's witticisms at times fall flat—he can only refer to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen as "the Thadmiral" or refigure BP's initials as "Bullying People," "Billowing Petroleum" or, worst yet, "Bull Poop" so many times before the joke exhausts itself. However, as Safina registers his responses in the wake of the spill, from outrage to cautious hope, his account achieves a broad, reasoned perspective that frames events against the more insidious damage that farm and industrial runoff, canal-digging, levee-building, and rising sea level have wrought on the Gulf and its wetlands. (Apr.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review

"An impressive book that provides a vivid account of how the spill happened, coupled with a report on the anxiety experienced by those who had no way of knowing how long the spill would last or how bad it would get...Readers will find the book accessible and agreeable…an insightful work." The New York Times Book Review

"Safina offers an impassioned, on the ground chronicle of the 2010 Gulf oil blowout that surpassed Exxon-Valdez to rank as the worst in history. His account achieves a broad, reasoned perspective that frames events against the more insidious damage that farm and industrial runoff, canal-digging, levee-building, and rising sea level have wrought on the Gulf and its wetlands." —Publishers Weekly

The blowout was awful, but look at the bigger picture, writes Safina in this illuminating, monitory study: “The real catastrophe is the oil we don’t spill…the oil we burn, the coal we burn, the gas we burn…And as the reefs dissolve and the ocean’s productivity declines, so will go the food security of hundreds of millions of people.” 
—Kirkus Reviews

"Environmentalist Safina brings his signature compassion, marine expertise, and gorgeous writing to his candidly expressive coverage of the Deepwater Horizon disaster a year after the explosion." —Booklist

Praise for previous works by Carl Safina:
 
Song for the Blue Ocean:
 
“Engrossing and illuminating . . . passionate and enthralling narrative . . . [A] landmark book.” New York Times Book Review
 
“You will never think about fish—or the ocean—the same way again.”
—Sylvia Earle, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association
 
Eye of the Albatross:
 
“One of the most delightful natural history studies in decades.”
The Boston Globe
 
 “A beautiful, awe-inspiring tableau of our world as you've never seen it . . . a moving depiction of how interconnected life on this planet truly is.”
The Christian Science Monitor
 
“Safina delivers a message full of wonder at the natural world and concern about the fragility of his subject.”
New York Times Book Review
  
Voyage of the Turtle:
 
“Magnificent... a book that makes the sea air palpable….A joyful, hopeful book that at the same time, doesn't let us off the hook.”
Los Angeles Times
 
Thrums with fascination.”
New York Times Book Review

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hardy Jones on May 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To say this is an important book would be a vast understatement. Safina gets the science and details, including the heartbreak inflicted on the people of the Gulf and he writes of it masterfully . . . A different style than Im accustomed to from him - presnet tense, fast paced. The great value of the book lies in the fact that Safina took the truth as he found it and reversed many of his early conclusions and preconclusions. The last fifty pages are stunning. I wont spoil it for you. But for example he finds that fish populations had in many cases increased due to the shut down of fishing due to the spill. Complex and highly instructive. My only quarrel is that he beats on Admiral Thad Allan and NOAA head Barbara Lubchenko for most of the book only to reveal in the last chapters . . . Well i wont give away the story
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J.A. (John) Turley on September 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A Sea in Flames is a good read. Carl Safina, a world-class conservationist, does a good job defining the high-level cause of the blowout in language for the layman. More in-depth, he brings experienced insight to those dark months of billowing oil when technology, wildlife, politics, the media, and emotions collided as if dragsters meeting head on.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Tuthill on September 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Carl's books and find them to be some of the most evocative, profound, and important books in my collection. I think I can safely say that he is one of my favorite authors of all time. However, even with this wealth of experience behind me, this new book of his was a complete surprise to me. A good surprise. The book is different from his others, but just as exquisite. This one is fast-paced and fascinating ... I read it out loud to my husband as we were driving on a short vacation and we literally pulled over to the side of the road -- often! -- to finish chapters rather than suffer from being left hanging. I had watched the coverage of the BP spill with trepidation, anxiety, and depression, as all of us did, and yet Carl's insights into the effects on the community and the local economy were so moving that they deeply affected me. I learned so many new facets of the environmental situation as well -- inadvertantly, as it's not a "preachy" book, and not overly pendantic. I simply went along with the roller coaster ride of Carl's experiences and later found that I now had a much wider appreciation for the varied and conflicting issues involved in the blow out, "... this comedy of horrors." Serious topics were peppered with a good serving of humor, and Carl freely gives his somewhat irreverant opinions(eg., refering to one particular character as "mind-bogglingly vapid"). I also appreciated Carl's summations and calls to action: "The blowout is both an acute tragedy and a broad metaphor for a country operating sloppily, waving away risks and warnings, a country that does not use care in stewarding its precious gifts, a country concerned only about the next little while, not the larger time frames of our lives or our children's futures." I hope that Carl's book will be read by many, as we could all work towards changing these dynamics and shepharding the world for the coming generations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tognetti TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Carl Safina sounds angry and Lord knows he has a right to be. As a noted author and highly-respected conservationist Safina was simultaneously sickened and emotionally devastated by just about everything he observed in the weeks and months following the deadly explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig off the Louisiana coast on April 20, 2010. As soon as he heard about this catastrophe Carl Safina left his Long Island home and headed for the Gulf Coast to investigate. Over the next several months he would record all of his observations for posterity. The result is his riveting new book "A Sea In Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout". Some of the things you will discover about BP's woefully inadequate attempts to plug the leak will shock you. But for those who pay attention to these matters much of what you will learn in this book will probably not surprise you at all.

Carl Safina is an unabashed liberal and darn proud of it. But unlike limousine liberals Carl Safina actually walks the walk and talks the talk each and every day of his life. As such, he is uniquely qualified to evaluate both BP's and state and federal government's response to this debacle. He can smell half-truths and inconsistencies a mile away. He has come to the Gulf to get to the bottom of the how and why of this blowout, to assess the extent of the damage to the environment and to understand the implications for those whose lives and livelihoods are directly affected. He will conduct extensive interviews with fishermen, coastal residents, biologists and government officials. And like everyone else he fears the worst but hopes for the best.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not a finished or well written book, more a journal of the author's impressions. Although a well-informed author, this book is more like a daily cataloging of his experiences than a well thought out examination of the disaster.
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