At its rare worst, rain is so acid that it removes paint and can be used to make salad dressing. At their worst, people can also be acid, with shrill environmentalists pitted against petty politicians and do-nothing government agencies. The rest of us are caught in between, watching our lakes and forests die and the noses crumble from our favorite statues, wondering what can be done. Pringle has written an objective book about this inflamed subject. The chemistry he introduces will tax no one who has had high-school chemistry; those without can skip the equations. He clearly explains and shows the relationships among soil chemistry, forests and trees, the ecology of lakes and ponds, movement of the air, and other wide-ranging topics bearing on acid rain; he outlines the response of governments and industries, touching on many of the factors that make finding an equitable solution such a struggle--loss of jobs, higher cost of power, the panacea or peril of nuclear power, uncertainty concerning short- and long-term effects. The way pollutants are created--most from smelting and power plants burning high-sulfur fuels--and the ways they can be controlled are well-understood; it's who should pay, how, and how fast that remains an international muddle. If Pringle offers no neat solution to the mess, that's real, too. Highly recommended. Bibliography; index.