7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The Goldilocks' Porridge of Books on the Gulf,
This review is from: Shadows on the Gulf: A Journey through Our Last Great Wetland (Hardcover)
I had avoided reading books on the Gulf oil spill because I frankly didn't want to read several hundred pages on the idiotic decision-making that led up to it, nor about the mind-boggling fecklessness of the clean-up efforts.
I get it. I don't need to spend a week reading about it.
The only reason I picked up Jacobsen's book is because it doesn't mention the oil spill on the cover - I thought I was just getting a "nature book."
The book is actually a look at the spill, the technology of oil drilling, and the culture and ecology of the Gulf. Each topic is treated with just enough detail, and the portions on the Gulf and its environment are wonderful. I live halfway across the country from the Gulf, but I came away with a better appreciation of its people and its environment and a better understanding of how the oil spill happened. For example, Jacobsen points out that on deep wells, blowout preventers have only been used a few times and have failed about half of the time - so this was not an unforeseeable disaster as often portrayed in the press.
Each chapter in the book reads like a long, extremely well-crafted magazine article on an aspect of the Gulf or of the spill. Jacobsen is an excellent writer, and has a great way of explaining relatively complex topics gracefully and without getting bogged down in details.
One of the better books on any subject I have read this year. In terms of detail, tone, and style it is "just right."