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on May 16, 2011
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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on September 17, 2012
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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on September 1, 2011
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 17, 2011
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.

For the uninitiated Carl Safina offers up a pretty detailed explanation of both the events leading up to the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon rig and of the explosion itself. Obtaining this information was extremely difficult and time-consuming as it was apparent from the get-go that both BP and various government officials were stonewalling at every turn. As Carl observes on page 176 of "A Sea in Flames" "It could be a cleanup; it could be a cover-up. You can't tell. You can't tell because the Big People are undermining our ability to ask. But let's make it simple, people: Either there's freedom of speech or there isn't. Either there's freedom of assembly or there is isn't. Either there's freedom of movement or there isn't. Either there's freedom, or not." Just who is in charge down here? There seem to be so many obstacles to overcome to get at the truth. Then there is all of that leaking oil. Just how much is leaking? Is it 5000 barrels a day or 60000 barrels a day? How long is it going to take to plug the leak? It all depends on who you talk to. As time goes on it is apparent that Carl Safina is becoming increasingly frustrated with this story. He does not mince words and sometimes I find some of his commentary to be a bit over the top. He has extremely harsh words for a number of individuals including BP's embattled CEO Tony Hayward, Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen (whom he constantly refers to as "Thadmiral") and NOAA administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco. Everyone involved wishes they could wave a magic wand and make it all go away.

But there is so much more to this story than the explosion of an oil rig and the tragic loss of 11 lives. "A Sea in Flames" also explores the potential impact of this event on the fragile Gulf Coast marshes and for the wildlife that inhabits it. Environmentalists fear the worst and the sight of oil soaked fish, birds, waterfowl and sea turtles is positively heartbreaking. Carl Safina attempts to separate fact from fiction but this is extremely difficult to do. No one can say for sure what the lasting impact is going to be. The same can be said for the fate of hundreds of thousands of residents who reside along the Gulf Coast and rely on the Gulf to make a living. Their lives have been turned upside down and they face an extremely uncertain future. Perhaps this can be best summed up by an extremely moving display Carl happened upon during his travels: "On a lawn, a graveyard of white crosses memorializes those departed: "Beach Sunsets", "Sand Between My Toes", "Marlin", "Sand Castles", "Dolphins", "Bluefin Tuna", "Crabbing", "Shrimp", "Sailing", "Beach Sunrises", "Summer Fun", "Sea Turtles", "Picnics on the Beach", "Floundering", "Flying a Kite"", "Sand Dollars", "Oysters On The Half Shell", ""Boogie Boarding"; there are about four dozen more." You get the picture.....paradise and the ability to make a living lost in one fell swoop. Your heart goes out to these people.

When all is said and done I carried away two important lessons from Carl Safina's exhaustive investigation into the Deepwater Horizon affair. Not surprisingly, BP really had no plan in place to deal with a leak of this magnitude. Skimming, burning and the use of dispersants were simply no match for this situation. The response to this tragedy was essentially the same as it would have been two decades ago but now we are drilling far deeper wells that necessarily involve far greater risk. This is simply unacceptable and needs to be addressed forthwith. Likewise, according to Admiral Thad Allen the federal government stopped doing R&D on responding to these kinds of potential spills in the 1990's due to "budget cuts". If this is true it would help to explain why the Feds could not do more. As Carl Safina points out time and again in "A Sea of Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout" the American people are as much to blame for all of this as anyone else. Clearly we are all too dependent on cheap fossil fuels and do not seem to understand the true cost of using them. "A Sea In Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout" is a thoughtful and extremely well-written book which I would compare quite favorably to Riki Ott's "Not One Drop: Betrayal and Courage in the Wake of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill" which I read a couple of years ago. Very highly recommended!
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on July 14, 2013
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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on August 5, 2014
as advertised
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on December 11, 2011
With exception of the gratuitous 'Dick Cheney' reference on page 5 I found the first 44 pages an interesting description of the events leading up to the explosion.

After that it just turned into a rant. Example from page 176:

"It could be a cleanup; it could be a cover-up. You can't tell. You can't tell because the Big People are undermining our ability to ask. But lets make it simple, people: Either there's freedom of speech or there isn't. Either there's freedom of assembly or there isn't. Either there's freedom of movement or there isn't. Either there's feedom. Or not."

What a mess. If that excerpt doesn't dissuade you then maybe this book is for you.
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on February 11, 2014
This book was extremely difficult to read. It contained multiple incomplete sentences and/or sentence fragments. The poor grammar made it very frustrating to stay engaged even though the subject matter was interesting.

In addition, the author added an extreme liberal bias to the subject matter, that was without balance or an objective viewpoint.

I will not be reading or purchasing any more books from this author.
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on December 7, 2014
Love Carl Safina's work!!! Can't wait for his next!!
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on July 25, 2011
The book arrived in the time frame given to me and the product was in the condition described by the seller. Thank you!
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