Drinking Water by James Salzman
A History

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When we turn on the tap or twist open a tall, cold plastic bottle, we might not give a second thought to where our drinking water comes from.

But how it gets from the ground to the glass is far more complex than we might think. With concerns over pollution and new technologies like fracking, is it safe to drink tap water? Should we feel guilty buying bottled water? Is the water we drink vulnerable to terrorist attacks? With springs running dry and reservoirs emptying, where is our water going to come from in the future?

In Drinking Water, Duke University professor and environmental policy expert James Salzman shows how drinking water highlights the most pressing issues of our time--from globalization and social justice to terrorism and climate change--and how humans have been wrestling with these problems for centuries. From the aqueducts of Rome to the revolutionary sewer system in nineteenth-century London to today’s state-of-the-art desalination plants, safety and scarcity of water have always been one of society’s most important functions.

About James Salzman

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James Salzman holds the Samuel Mordecai chair at the School of Law and the Nicholas Institute Professor chair at the School of the Environment at Duke University. He has written extensively on the topics of environmental conservation, population growth, and climate change. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.For more information, please visit drinkingwaterhistory.com
Published January 31, 2013 by Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd. 320 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Salzman (Law and Environmental Policy/Duke Univ.) looks at the history of drinking water and how it is connected to a range of global environmental, social and political issues.

Sep 02 2012 | Read Full Review of Drinking Water: A History

Publishers Weekly

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Through exploring core questions in water management—whether people have a right to access drinking water, whether it “should be managed as a commodity for sale or a public good,” what it means for water to be clean and safe—Salzman lucidly addresses controversial topics, such as the Clea...

Sep 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Drinking Water: A History

Washington Independent Review of Books

As Salzman describes it, the timing of the fitness craze together with the marketing of bottled water as a healthy alternative to sugary sodas led U.S. consumption to explode to “1,500 bottles of water every second,” which, not too many decades earlier, “would have seemed as ludicrous to most peo...

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The reductio ad absurdum of bottled water supposedly being better for you than tap water means that in America, 1,500 bottles of water are now opened every second and there is even a mineral water for dogs – Woof Water.

Jan 19 2013 | Read Full Review of Drinking Water: A History


Drinking Water explains the overlooked and surprising history of drinking water from Biblical conflicts to overpriced mineral water.

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