The author could have been more succinct, but she sounds the water alarm with conviction and authority.

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BLUE COVENANT

THE GLOBAL WATER CRISIS AND THE COMING BATTLE FOR THE RIGHT TO WATER

Water, water not everywhere, and often too expensive to drink. That’s the message activist Barlow sounds loud and clear in outrage at the powers that be.

Head of the Council of Canadians, a public advocacy group, and author of Too Close For Comfort: Canada’s Future Within Fortress North America (2005), she decries the global commodification of water. She points the finger at individuals and groups—transnational corporations, lobbyists, committees, government donor agencies and international organizations—that have cajoled, corrupted or colluded with governments into turning water resources and distribution services into profitable private enterprises. Not surprisingly, it is the poor who suffer, unable to afford the cost of water even when companies have bothered to install pipes and meters in their homes. In the developing world, women walk miles to fetch water from unclean sources. Barlow goes on to lament the shrinking of water supplies, the siphoning of rivers to irrigate desert areas or create garden spots, the high energy costs of desalination and the increased pollution from water-cleaning and recycling technologies and, in particular, from the bottled water industry. She argues for global water justice, a new “blue covenant” in which water is not only a human right but a public trust. This has become the rallying cry of a growing movement of activists who demand government oversight, with regulation and enforced conservation. All quite right, but Barlow makes her case with encyclopedic lists of names, dates, meetings and places; overwhelmed readers will wish she had summarized her voluminous data. For all the wasteful absurdity of buying bottled water where the tap runs clean, it’s important to remember there are places in the world where bottled water is one of the most valuable public-health measures available.

The author could have been more succinct, but she sounds the water alarm with conviction and authority.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-1-59558-186-0

Page Count: 208

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2007

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Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

THREE WOMEN

Based on eight years of reporting and thousands of hours of interaction, a journalist chronicles the inner worlds of three women’s erotic desires.

In her dramatic debut about “what longing in America looks like,” Taddeo, who has contributed to Esquire, Elle, and other publications, follows the sex lives of three American women. On the surface, each woman’s story could be a soap opera. There’s Maggie, a teenager engaged in a secret relationship with her high school teacher; Lina, a housewife consumed by a torrid affair with an old flame; and Sloane, a wealthy restaurateur encouraged by her husband to sleep with other people while he watches. Instead of sensationalizing, the author illuminates Maggie’s, Lina’s, and Sloane’s erotic experiences in the context of their human complexities and personal histories, revealing deeper wounds and emotional yearnings. Lina’s infidelity was driven by a decade of her husband’s romantic and sexual refusal despite marriage counseling and Lina's pleading. Sloane’s Fifty Shades of Grey–like lifestyle seems far less exotic when readers learn that she has felt pressured to perform for her husband's pleasure. Taddeo’s coverage is at its most nuanced when she chronicles Maggie’s decision to go to the authorities a few years after her traumatic tryst. Recounting the subsequent trial against Maggie’s abuser, the author honors the triumph of Maggie’s courageous vulnerability as well as the devastating ramifications of her community’s disbelief. Unfortunately, this book on “female desire” conspicuously omits any meaningful discussion of social identities beyond gender and class; only in the epilogue does Taddeo mention race and its impacts on women's experiences with sex and longing. Such oversight brings a palpable white gaze to the narrative. Compounded by the author’s occasionally lackluster prose, the book’s flaws compete with its meaningful contribution to #MeToo–era reporting.

Dramatic, immersive, and wanting—much like desire itself.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4516-4229-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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