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Shadows on the Gulf: A Journey through Our Last Great Wetland Hardcover – April 26, 2011
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"A must-read for anyone who cares about the richest estuary on earth, or one of the most endangered land masses." --Huffington Post
“Shadows is not specifically about the Deepwater Horizon blowout and its aftermath―although it plays a central role in the narrative. It's brimming with engaging information about a little-known region and leavened with moments of grace.” ―Wall Street Journal
“Brilliant… The wonderfully vivid descriptions of the landscape will place readers right by Jacobsen's side as he describes the changes to the biodiversity, environment, and culture of the Gulf region.” ―Library Journal
About the Author
Rowan Jacobsen is the James Beard Award- winning author of A Geography of Oysters, Fruitless Fall, The Living Shore, and American Terroir. He has written about food,place, and the natural world for Harper's, Newsweek, Eating Well, and others, and his commentaries on the Gulf crisis have appeared in Outside magazine and the New York Times and on MSNBC. He was raised in Florida and attended school on the Gulf Coast.
Top Customer Reviews
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."
I've learned more about the accident in ten pages of his writing than I did in the months of news coverage following the event. But more importantly, he makes clear the larger issue that many of us in the environmental field understand intuitively: this is not just man-versus-something; it's a problem of mindset, of recognizing that our connections to each other (which includes non-humans and the physical surroundings) are not limited by distance or time or culture. We must be willing to see and reach and act beyond ourselves and our local communities.
Jacobsen's writing is clear and heartfelt. He obviously deeply appreciates nature but is not overly sentimental about it - this isn't tree-hugging. Jacobsen is plainly stating truth: that our personal health is tied to the health of our ecosystems, for we are a part of them.
To separate ourselves from our physical surroundings is a falsity that leads only to our decline
This is the most detailed accounting of the damage done to the Gulf of Mexico (Lousiania) Wetlands by the BP Mercondo Well blow out I have come across. The only thing that is missing is the insider perspective that is also needed in a telling of this story. I worked offshore and for this Company for the last few years of my career in the Gas Industry. Yes, I agree this is a quite important work and certainly the information given by Mr. Jacobsen concerning the proposed recovery undertaken are lacking. The distructive result of the damage to the Gulf wetlands deserve a larger long term assessment by firstly the Regulatory Offices of our Federal overseeres and especially State regulatory agencies that oversee daily activities of the Oil and Gas industries, which the do so poorly and allow the monied interest of the industry do their own policing on the most part of what is done. The Industry Interests call the shots concerning the day to day watchdog activities. There have been many minor spills throughout the history of production and drilling and many have been overlooked by all but the workers out on the rusting and antiquated older production rigs, manned by untrained workers who feel their jobs are in jepardy, with any action they perform in their daily activities which can easily result in spill if equipment and operations of the Rig are aged and not well maintained.Read more ›
This, I think, is quite an important book and certainly the proposals tendered by author Jacobsen on aiding a recovery of sorts to the massively damaged Gulf deserve a large hearing. At first I was encouraged by what he found in his opening chapters, and began to believe there was a promising resilience in the wildlife and ecosystem of our last great wetlands. However; as Rowan Jacobsen continued his tour of the region and more details were revealed, that promise seemed to evaporate. BP's Deepwater Horizon rig blow-out and futilely incompetent efforts to limit the effects of the explosion and subsequent leakage, are, Jacobsen argues, only the latest - and perhaps closing- chapters of a 100 year long disaster, and do not even measure up to be a major significance in the overall rape of the Gulf and the ongoing destruction of the regional ecology by hurricane, seepage, outfall, over-fishing, and erosion - all supported by a massive assist from the Army Corp of Engineering.
The Gulf of Mexico is one of the world's most beautiful bodies of water, anywhere. It is vitally important to the world's interlinked ecosystem and provides significant contribution to the food chain of all sea and many land creatures. The resources are, of course, more than food alone and oil, gas and mineral extraction are significant factors in its overall value to our economy and infrastructure. The Mississippi River and Delta have been a national treasure for centuries. But, as Jacobson demonstrates, may within just one generation, cease to provide for its peoples, and the Delta and City of New Orleans, eroding at a rate of a football field a day, will sink into the Gulf as a `modern day Atlantis'.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hard to find book, came in excellent condition. Was a perfect father's day
gift for my son, who is spending the week of "his day", canoeing the mighty
Mississippi from... Read more
My biggest complaint with this book is that it's too short. Jacobsen does an incredible job of wrapping himself around several different issues, and describing those issues in an... Read morePublished on October 11, 2011 by L. Bowes