THE BREATH OF LIFE by Donald E. Carr


Email this review


Lethal air is no more the invention of science fiction than was the idea of a silent spring -- it exists, despite the general inclination to discount it. In this book a professional chemist exposes ""modern air pollution problems"" in a journalistic manner any layman can -- and must--comprehend. It sounds like Sunday supplement sensationalism, admits the author, but it is all devastatingly -- and dangerously--true. He runs through the grisly examples of man-made lethal air--from the original connection of Hell with smelly brimstone to a more recent example of the same sulfurous aerosols at work, the Black Fog disaster in London in 1952. Carbon monoxide poisoning, tear gas pollutants, plant killers, the ""sharp knife"" of ozone when it concentrates near ground level, cancer, madness and other ugly methods of human demise by inhalation...oh, for a breath of fresh air! Los Angeles, as the prototype for future urban Black Holes, is a prime source of frightening data. The author flatly condemns the current measures of attack against the guiltiest polluter--the automobile--by showing how ineffectual they really are. Electric automobiles solve the problem, he suggests, but Detroit's corrective gimmicks haven't a chance. Neither the author's seeming flippancy nor any scientific disagreement with his statements can undermine the message here...which is as clear as the air is not and, until a better case is made, deserves attention as striking journalism with a scientific basis.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1965
Publisher: Norton