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Water from Heaven Hardcover – January 15, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0231122443 ISBN-10: 0231122446 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (January 15, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231122446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231122443
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,845,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

No tangible substance means more to us than water, and in this scientific history, astrophysicist Kandel traces not only the cycles of water molecules on Earth, but their voyages through time and space as well. Since water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen—very old elements, cosmologically speaking—Kandel applies a Michener-like thoroughness to his subject in the first section of his book. Starting with the Big Bang, he methodically works his way along toward the origin of life. "No water, no life," he states succinctly, showing how crucial water is to the biochemical development of organisms. The second part of the book, dedicated to "Water in Today's World," covers weather, tides and currents, and the familiar rain-river-sea-cloud cycle that children learn in school. Kandel works to make the hard science exciting, but he really shines in the last third of the book, which is devoted to "hydropolitics." Water "could be the biggest problem of the 21st century," he writes, and he offers numerous examples (e.g., water conflict and management between Israel and its neighbors) to prove his point. Judging by the vulnerability of agrarian societies and the struggles of cities trying to support their growing populations, humans around the globe are having trouble finding, keeping and recycling water. While dense with facts and figures, Kandel's aquatic history is riveting, an exhaustive and complex examination of our most precious chemical compound. "Have a drink of water," says Kandel. You're sipping "the history of the Earth and of the universe." 21 illustrations.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Simply put, "No water, no life." But how is our supply of freshwater maintained? Scientist Kandel explains the earth's elaborate and essential-to-life water cycle in a suitably fluid and mesmerizing narrative, beginning cosmologically with the birth of the solar system and an analysis of various theories as to where the earth's water, weighing in at "over a billion billion tons," originated. Kandel traces the balance of salt water and freshwater to ice and snow over the course of the earth's volatile geological history, pausing to consider past mass extinctions and our current precipitous loss of life-forms. He then cogently explains the awesome, truly beautiful dynamics of the tides, deep-water ocean currents, and every phase of the water cycle, which maintains the crucial balance between evaporation and condensation. "Life on the land depends on water from the sky," Kandel reminds readers, as he assiduously catalogs every threat to our precious water supply, from pollution to climate change to deforestation to unwise water management to the tricky convolutions of "hydropolitics." The more we understand about the water cycle, the better our chances of ensuring its continuance. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Hains on February 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is a gem. Kandel has collected a delightful assemblage of facts, interspersed with history and myth, into a wonderful story of water and its importance to every aspect of life, present and past.

The book has a wealth of connections between history, society, cosmology, and meteorology, all centered around a single molecule possessing wonderful properties.

The book is a good read in itself although the last chapters seem, for some reason, not quite as smoothly-composed as the earlier chapters. The book is also a great place to begin if one is interested in almost any topic regarding water. Kandel lists numerous sources and authorities for further reading and research. I highly recommend this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brooks on November 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pointless book. Had to buy it for college course. If they allowed 0 starts I would give it that. Propaganda city. Do not buy
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