In this “cri de coeur about the Gulf’s environmental ruin” (New York Times), “Davis has written a beautiful homage to a neglected sea” (front page, New York Times Book Review). Hailed as a “nonfiction epic . . . in the tradition of Jared Diamond’s best-seller Collapse, and Simon Winchester’s Atlantic” (Dallas Morning News), Jack E. Davis’s The Gulf is “by turns informative, lyrical, inspiring and chilling for anyone who cares about the future of ‘America’s Sea’ ” (Wall Street Journal). Illuminating America’s political and economic relationship with the environment from the age of the conquistadors to the present, Davis demonstrates how the Gulf’s fruitful ecosystems and exceptional beauty empowered a growing nation. Filled with vivid, untold stories from the sportfish that launched Gulfside vacationing to Hollywood’s role in the country’s first offshore oil wells, this “vast and welltold story shows how we made the Gulf . . . [into] a ‘national sacrifice zone’ ” (Bill McKibben). The first and only study of its kind, The Gulf offers “a unique and illuminating history of the American Southern coast and sea as it should be written” (Edward O. Wilson).
Hailed as a "nonfiction epic . . . in the tradition of Jared Diamond's best-seller Collapse, and Simon Winchester's Atlantic" (Dallas Morning News), Jack E. Davis's The Gulf is "by turns informative, lyrical, inspiring and chilling for anyone who cares about the future of 'America's Sea' " (Wall Street Journal). Illuminating America's political and economic relationship with the environment from the age of the conquistadors to the present, Davis demonstrates how the Gulf's fruitful ecosystems and exceptional beauty empowered a growing nation. Filled with vivid, untold stories from the sportfish that launched Gulfside vacationing to Hollywood's role in the country's first offshore oil wells, this "vast and welltold story shows how we made the Gulf . . . [into] a 'national sacrifice zone' " (Bill McKibben). The first and only study of its kind, The Gulf offers "a unique and illuminating history of the American Southern coast and sea as it should be written" (Edward O. Wilson).
"From the earliest descriptions of the state's natural beauty to the degradation of the Everglades, virtually every facet of Florida environment is included in Paradise Lost? Nor have the authors neglected the human side of the story, from William Bartram, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and Archie Carr to various development boosters and bureaucrats. . . . A fine collection that will make an important contribution to environmental history generally and to the history of Florida in particular."--Timothy Silver, Appalachian State University "A magnificent contribution to Florida's environmental history and a fascinating analysis of 'paradise lost' in the land of the pink flamingos and Disney."--Carolyn Johnston, Eckerd College This collection of essays surveys the environmental history of the Sunshine State, from Spanish exploration to the present, and provides an organized, detailed overview of the reciprocal relationship between humans and Florida's unique peninsular ecology. It is divided into four thematic sections: explorers and naturalists; science, technology, and public policy; despoliation; and conservationists and environmentalists. The contributors describe the evolving environmental policies and practices of the state and federal governments and the dynamic interaction between the Florida environment and many social and cultural groups including the Spanish, English, Americans, southerners, northerners, men, and women. They have applied historical methodology and also drawn on the methodologies of the fields of political science, cultural anthropology, and sociology. Of obvious value to environmentalists and general readers interested in Florida's history, exploration, and development, the book will also serve as a solid introduction to the subject for undergraduates and graduate students. Jack E. Davis is associate professor of history at University of Florida. Raymond Arsenault is the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History and director of the University Honors College at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg.
The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera traces the development of the Florida-Alabama coast as a tourist destination from the late 1920s and early 1930s, when it was sparsely populated with "small fishing villages," through to the tragic and devastating BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. Harvey H. Jackson III focuses on the stretch of coast from Mobile Bay and Gulf Shores, Alabama, east to Panama City, Florida--an area known as the "Redneck Riviera." Jackson explores the rise of this area as a vacation destination for the lower South's middle- and working-class families following World War II, the building boom of the 1950s and 1960s, and the emergence of the Spring Break "season." From the late sixties through 1979, severe hurricanes destroyed many small motels, cafes, bars, and early cottages that gave the small beach towns their essential character. A second building boom ensued in the 1980s dominated by high-rise condominiums and large resort hotels. Jackson traces the tensions surrounding the gentrification of the late 1980s and 1990s and the collapse of the housing market in 2008. While his major focus is on the social, cultural, and economic development, he also documents the environmental and financial impacts of natural disasters and the politics of beach access and dune and sea turtle protection. The Rise and Decline of the Redneck Riviera is the culmination of sixteen years of research drawn from local newspapers, interviews, documentaries, community histories, and several scholarly studies that have addressed parts of this region's history. From his 1950s-built family vacation cottage in Seagrove Beach, Florida, and on frequent trips to the Alabama coast, Jackson witnessed the changes that have come to the area and has recorded them in a personal, in-depth look at the history and culture of the coast. A Friends Fund Publication.
Race against Time strives to unravel the emotional and cultural foundations of race in the white mind. Jack E. Davis combed primary documents in Natchez, Mississippi, and absorbed the town's oral history to understand white racial attitudes there over the past seven decades, a period rich in social change, strife, and reconciliation. What he found in this community that cultivates for profit a romantic view of the Old South challenges conventional assumptions about racial prejudice.
Human activity has irreversibly changed the natural environment. But the news isn't all bad. It's accepted wisdom today that human beings have permanently damaged the natural world, causing extinction, deforestation, pollution, and of course climate change. But in Inheritors of the Earth, biologist Chris Thomas shows that this obscures a more hopeful truth--we're also helping nature grow and change. Human cities and mass agriculture have created new places for enterprising animals and plants to live, and our activities have stimulated evolutionary change in virtually every population of living species. Most remarkably, Thomas shows, humans may well have raised the rate at which new species are formed to the highest level in the history of our planet. Drawing on the success stories of diverse species, from the ochre-colored comma butterfly to the New Zealand pukeko, Thomas overturns the accepted story of declining biodiversity on Earth. In so doing, he questions why we resist new forms of life, and why we see ourselves as unnatural. Ultimately, he suggests that if life on Earth can recover from the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs, it can survive the onslaughts of the technological age. This eye-opening book is a profound reexamination of the relationship between humanity and the natural world.
Stunned by widespread ignorance about the Gulf of Mexico following the 2010 Macondo oil spill, underwater photographer Jesse Cancelmo decided to turn his camera on the marine life of this 600,000 square mile international sea that connects five US states, six Mexican states, and the island nation of Cuba. With the goal of countering dismissive descriptions of a Gulf plagued with dead zones and overrun by oil rigs, Cancelmo set out to capture a world rarely acknowledged, let alone seen. Between the Gulf's rich shoreline habitats and its prolific oceanic communities, thriving amid dazzling coral reefs, brine seeps, canyons, salt domes, and hard bottom banks, are more than 15,000 species, including an iconic cast of sea animals: sperm whales, manta rays, whale sharks, manatees, spotted dolphins, and more. Capturing images from locations all around the Gulf, Cancelmo reveals the beauty and glory of these diverse habitats and species. Although this is a book of sensational underwater photography, Cancelmo intends it to be more than a celebration of oceanic beauty. He also hopes to inspire better understanding and appreciation of the natural marine habitats in the Gulf and to strengthen support for their protection and sustainment.
A landmark work of science, history and reporting on the past, present and imperiled future of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior—hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come. For thousands of years the pristine Great Lakes were separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the roaring Niagara Falls and from the Mississippi River basin by a “sub-continental divide.” Beginning in the late 1800s, these barriers were circumvented to attract oceangoing freighters from the Atlantic and to allow Chicago’s sewage to float out to the Mississippi. These were engineering marvels in their time—and the changes in Chicago arrested a deadly cycle of waterborne illnesses—but they have had horrendous unforeseen consequences. Egan provides a chilling account of how sea lamprey, zebra and quagga mussels and other invaders have made their way into the lakes, decimating native species and largely destroying the age-old ecosystem. And because the lakes are no longer isolated, the invaders now threaten water intake pipes, hydroelectric dams and other infrastructure across the country. Egan also explores why outbreaks of toxic algae stemming from the overapplication of farm fertilizer have left massive biological “dead zones” that threaten the supply of fresh water. He examines fluctuations in the levels of the lakes caused by manmade climate change and overzealous dredging of shipping channels. And he reports on the chronic threats to siphon off Great Lakes water to slake drier regions of America or to be sold abroad. In an age when dire problems like the Flint water crisis or the California drought bring ever more attention to the indispensability of safe, clean, easily available water, The Death and the Life of the Great Lakes is a powerful paean to what is arguably our most precious resource, an urgent examination of what threatens it and a convincing call to arms about the relatively simple things we need to do to protect it.
Peter Lehner,Bob Deans
BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill, 2010
The Anatomy of a Disaster, the Fate of the Gulf, and How to End Our Oil Addiction
Author: Peter Lehner,Bob Deans
Publisher: OR Books
Category: BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Oil Spill, 2010
Describes the causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and the environmental, economic, and social damage done by the subsequent oil spill, and suggests ways to prevent another such disaster through decreased dependence on petroleum products.
“America’s Future Is Texas,” a recent New Yorker article by Lawrence Wright proclaimed. As a changing climate threatens the whole country with deeper droughts and more furious floods that put ever more people and property at risk, Texas has become a bellwether state for water debates. Will there be enough water for everyone? Is there the will to take the steps necessary to defend ourselves against the sea? Is it in the nature of Americans to adapt to nature in flux? The most comprehensive—and comprehensible—book on contemporary water issues, A Thirsty Land delves deep into the challenges faced not just by Texas but by the nation as a whole, as we struggle to find a way to balance the changing forces of nature with our own ever-expanding needs. Part history, part science, part adventure story, and part travelogue, this book puts a human face on the struggle to master that most precious and capricious of resources, water. Seamus McGraw goes to the taproots, talking to farmers, ranchers, businesspeople, and citizen activists, as well as to politicians and government employees. Their stories provide chilling evidence that Texas—and indeed the nation—is not ready for the next devastating drought, the next catastrophic flood. Ultimately, however, A Thirsty Land delivers hope. This deep dive into one of the most vexing challenges facing Texas and the nation offers glimpses of the way forward in the untapped opportunities that water also presents.
Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America's Deadliest Natural Disaster: The Great Gulf Hurricane of 1900
Author: Al Roker
In this gripping narrative history, Al Roker from NBC’s Today and the Weather Channel vividly examines the deadliest natural disaster in American history—a haunting and inspiring tale of tragedy, heroism, and resilience that is full of lessons for today’s new age of extreme weather. On the afternoon of September 8, 1900, two-hundred-mile-per-hour winds and fifteen-foot waves slammed into Galveston, the booming port city on Texas’s Gulf Coast. By dawn the next day, the city that hours earlier had stood as a symbol of America’s growth and expansion was now gone. Shattered, grief-stricken survivors emerged to witness a level of destruction never before seen: Eight thousand corpses littered the streets and were buried under the massive wreckage. Rushing water had lifted buildings from their foundations, smashing them into pieces, while wind gusts had upended steel girders and trestles, driving them through house walls and into sidewalks. No race or class was spared its wrath. In less than twenty-four hours, a single storm had destroyed a major American metropolis—and awakened a nation to the terrifying power of nature. Blending an unforgettable cast of characters, accessible weather science, and deep historical research into a sweeping and dramatic narrative, The Storm of the Century brings this legendary hurricane and its aftermath into fresh focus. No other natural disaster has ever matched the havoc caused by the awesome mix of winds, rain, and flooding that devastated Galveston and shocked a young, optimistic nation on the cusp of modernity. Exploring the impact of the tragedy on a rising country’s confidence—the trauma of the loss and the determination of the response—Al Roker illuminates the United States’s character at the dawn of the “American Century,” while also underlining the fact that no matter how mighty they may become, all nations must respect the ferocious potential of our natural environment.
A Chicago Tribune Exciting Book for 2017 • A Buzzfeed Most Exciting Book for 2017 • A The Millions Great 2017 Preview Pick• A Huffington Post 2017 Preview Pick • A PW Spring 2017 Top 10 Pick in Essays & Literary Criticism “Brave, keenly observational, and humanitarian…. Gerard’s collection leaves an indelible impression.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review “These large-hearted, meticulous essays offer an uncanny x-ray of our national psyche... showing us both the grand beauty of our American dreams and the heartbreaking devastation they wreak.” — Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You Sarah Gerard follows her breakout novel, Binary Star, with the dynamic essay collection Sunshine State, which explores Florida as a microcosm of the most pressing economic and environmental perils haunting our society. In the collection’s title essay, Gerard volunteers at the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, a world renowned bird refuge. There she meets its founder, who once modeled with a pelican on his arm for a Dewar’s Scotch campaign but has since declined into a pit of fraud and madness. He becomes our embezzling protagonist whose tales about the birds he “rescues” never quite add up. Gerard’s personal stories are no less eerie or poignant: An essay that begins as a look at Gerard’s first relationship becomes a heart-wrenching exploration of acquaintance rape and consent. An account of intimate female friendship pivots midway through, morphing into a meditation on jealousy and class. With the personal insight of The Empathy Exams, the societal exposal of Nickel and Dimed, and the stylistic innovation and intensity of her own break-out debut novel Binary Star, Sarah Gerard’s Sunshine State uses the intimately personal to unearth the deep reservoirs of humanity buried in the corners of our world often hardest to face.
One Engineering Marvel, Five Men, and a Disaster Ten Miles Into the Darkness
Author: Neil Swidey
Publisher: Broadway Books
Documents the disastrous 1990s mission during which two members of a five-man diving team were killed while completing construction on a ten-mile tunnel at the end of Boston's Deer Island waste treatment plant.
William R. Freudenburg,Robert B. Gramling,Shirley Laska,Kai Erikson
The Engineering of Katrina and the Disasters of Tomorrow
Author: William R. Freudenburg,Robert B. Gramling,Shirley Laska,Kai Erikson
Publisher: Island Press
When houses are flattened, towns submerged, and people stranded without electricity or even food, we attribute the suffering to “natural disasters” or “acts of God.” But what if they’re neither? What if we, as a society, are bringing these catastrophes on ourselves? That’s the provocative theory of Catastrophe in the Making, the first book to recognize Hurricane Katrina not as a “perfect storm,” but a tragedy of our own making—and one that could become commonplace. The authors, one a longtime New Orleans resident, argue that breached levees and sloppy emergency response are just the most obvious examples of government failure. The true problem is more deeply rooted and insidious, and stretches far beyond the Gulf Coast. Based on the false promise of widespread prosperity, communities across the U.S. have embraced all brands of “economic development” at all costs. In Louisiana, that meant development interests turning wetlands into shipping lanes. By replacing a natural buffer against storm surges with a 75-mile long, obsolete canal that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, they guided the hurricane into the heart of New Orleans and adjacent communities. The authors reveal why, despite their geographic differences, California and Missouri are building—quite literally—toward similar destruction. Too often, the U.S. “growth machine” generates wealth for a few and misery for many. Drawing lessons from the most expensive “natural” disaster in American history, Catastrophe in the Making shows why thoughtless development comes at a price we can ill afford.
The collected works of one of contemporary poetry’s most original voices Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. His pages represent the human voice in all its extreme registers, whether it’s that of the child-murderer Herbert White, the obsessive anorexic Ellen West, the tormented genius Vaslav Nijinsky, or the poet’s own. And in that embodiment is a transgressive empathy, one that recognizes our wild appetites, the monsters, the misfits, the misunderstood among us and inside us. Few writers have so willingly ventured to the dark places of the human psyche and allowed themselves to be stripped bare on the page with such candor and vulnerability. Over the past half century, Bidart has done nothing less than invent a poetics commensurate with the chaos and appetites of our experience. Half-light encompasses all of Bidart’s previous books, and also includes a new collection, Thirst, in which the poet austerely surveys his life, laying it plain for us before venturing into something new and unknown. Here Bidart finds himself a “Creature coterminous with thirst,” still longing, still searching in himself, one of the “queers of the universe.” Visionary and revelatory, intimate and unguarded, Bidart’s Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2017 are a radical confrontation with human nature, a conflict eternally renewed and reframed, restless line by restless line.
A history of the 1950s polio epidemic that caused panic in the United States examines the competition between Salk and Sabin to find the first vaccine and its implications for such issues as government testing of new drugs and manufacturers' liability.
The Mississippi River’s New Channel to the Gulf of Mexico
Author: James F. Barnett
Publisher: Univ. Press of Mississippi
Category: Technology & Engineering
Beyond Control reveals the Mississippi as a waterway of change, unnaturally confined by ever-larger levees and control structures. During the great flood of 1973, the current scoured a hole beneath the main structure near Baton Rouge and enlarged a pre-existing football-field-size crater. That night the Mississippi River nearly changed its course for a shorter and steeper path to the sea. Such a map-changing reconfiguration of the country’s largest river would bear national significance as well as disastrous consequences for New Orleans and towns like Morgan City, at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River. Since 1973, the US Army Corps of Engineers Control Complex at Old River has kept the Mississippi from jumping out of its historic channel and plunging through the Atchafalaya Basin to the Gulf of Mexico. Beyond Control traces the history of this phenomenon, beginning with a major channel shift around 3,000 years ago. By the time European colonists began to explore the Lower Mississippi Valley, a unique confluence of waterways had formed where the Red River joined the Mississippi, and the Atchafalaya River flowed out into the Atchafalaya Basin. A series of human alterations to this potentially volatile web of rivers, starting with a bend cutoff in 1831 by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, set the forces in motion for the Mississippi’s move into the Atchafalaya Basin. Told against the backdrop of the Lower Mississippi River’s impending diversion, the book’s chapters chronicle historic floods, rising flood crests, a changing strategy for flood protection, and competing interests in the management of the Old River outlet. Beyond Control is both a history and a close look at an inexorable, living process happening now in the twenty-first century.
The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise
Author: Michael Grunwald
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
A history of the Everglades traces its emergence from the sea after the last ice age to its modern role as the world's largest ecosystem restoration project, an account marked by such events as Napoleon Bonaparte Borward's 1904 gubernatorial campaign, railroad and agricultural developments by the Army Corps of Engineers, and numerous political challenges. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.