Donald Carr, who wrote of the air we breathe in The Breath of Life (p. 149, 1965), turns to another element and its pollution here. Beginning with a chapter on water-control in ancient civilizations, he goes on to describe what water is and does; sewage disposal since 3000 B.C.; water and soil control around the modern world; flood and drought problems; the complex effects of history, weather cycles, vegetation, and pollution on available water. The latter chapters are a stunning attack on some current billion-dollar dam and irrigation projects which would needlessly ruin vast land areas. What the U.S. needs, Carr relentlessly points out, is not more water, but clean water, and he devotes his final chapter to methods by which our incredibly polluted waters may be reclaimed. Some humor and a hard commonsense make this sea of facts absorbing and certain to stir controversy. As essential as the element itself.