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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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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“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
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.
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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Scary but true expose of corporate greed and governmental betrayal of the public trust.Published 12 months ago by TruthIsStrangerThanFiction
This book is once again relevant after the huge Gulf of Mexico BP spill in April, 2010. A similar scenario is slowly playing out in late 2014, four years after the disaster. Dr. Read morePublished 22 months ago by M. Allen
Massive catastrophes, such as oil spills, are often swept under the rug and brushed off in the public eye after the initial maelstrom dies down. Read morePublished on March 17, 2011 by Jessica L. Lawrence
Dr. Ott's life story is interesting and compelling. The parallels of what happened in Alaska's Prince William Sound due to Exxon and what is currently occuring to the coastal... Read morePublished on July 16, 2010 by AntBee
I read this book for a presentation that I had to do for my MBA program, I never intended to like it. The book was written so that I could understand it, not all scientific terms. Read morePublished on May 14, 2010 by Joanne Nelson
The book was very attractive in topic because of the effect on both our own need for fuel and the means of how to do that safely. Read morePublished on January 31, 2010 by Robert Afflerbach
I didn't get too far into this book. It got off to a rambling start, and I found myself wondering when the author was going to get to the heart of the story. I didn't get too far.Published on September 24, 2009 by Sara-s
I've been working on this book for a number of months. It's just not a "sit down, and read it from cover to cover" type of book. Read morePublished on April 11, 2009 by R S Cobblestone
The 1989 Exxon Valdez incident was one of the worst catastrophes in human history, environmental or otherwise, and this powerful book shows that the people of Cordova and other... Read morePublished on March 9, 2009 by doomsdayer520