Well-presented, hard truths about our drinking water, which “is less safe than we deserve.”

TROUBLED WATER

WHAT'S WRONG WITH WHAT WE DRINK

A close analysis of the contaminants in our drinking water.

Water activist Siegel, whose book Let There Be Water (2105) explored how Israel has dealt with water scarcity, now turns to the quality of drinking water in the United States. As the author makes abundantly clear, Flint, Michigan, is not the only place with problems. He shows the widespread nature of the problem, relating chilling stories and interviews with experts, activists, and victims. The causes are varied: chemicals from factories seeping into groundwater, lead leeching into pipes, deficiencies in Environmental Protection Agency policies, and the multiplicity of small, private water utilities exempt from testing regulations. At the beginning of the narrative, Siegel grabs readers with an up-close-and-personal story of a son’s response to his father’s death from kidney cancer after their town became home to a factory producing Teflon. From there, the author turns to a history of federal regulations regarding safe water, pointing out their omissions and their lack of clarity. On a more positive note, Siegel cites the Orange County Water District in Fountain Valley, California, as a model of what can be done with better technology. Unfortunately, he does not see the drinking water industry as open to new ideas, and he urges bipartisan support in Congress and state legislatures of measures that encourage innovation. He includes some of his own recommendations, such as consolidating small water utilities, funding research through a tax on disposable water bottles, replacing old water pipes with smart ones, adopting nanofiltration techniques, and moving drinking water safety out of the EPA and turning it over to the Department of Health and Human Services. Siegel’s concluding suggestions about how readers can protect themselves from impure drinking water are less than reassuring, perhaps designed to spur action.

Well-presented, hard truths about our drinking water, which “is less safe than we deserve.”

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-13254-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 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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A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

AN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

Custer died for your sins. And so, this book would seem to suggest, did every other native victim of colonialism.

Inducing guilt in non-native readers would seem to be the guiding idea behind Dunbar-Ortiz’s (Emerita, Ethnic Studies/California State Univ., Hayward; Blood on the Border: A Memoir of the Contra War, 2005, etc.) survey, which is hardly a new strategy. Indeed, the author says little that hasn’t been said before, but she packs a trove of ideological assumptions into nearly every page. For one thing, while “Indian” isn’t bad, since “[i]ndigenous individuals and peoples in North America on the whole do not consider ‘Indian’ a slur,” “American” is due to the fact that it’s “blatantly imperialistic.” Just so, indigenous peoples were overwhelmed by a “colonialist settler-state” (the very language broadly applied to Israelis vis-à-vis the Palestinians today) and then “displaced to fragmented reservations and economically decimated”—after, that is, having been forced to live in “concentration camps.” Were he around today, Vine Deloria Jr., the always-indignant champion of bias-puncturing in defense of native history, would disavow such tidily packaged, ready-made, reflexive language. As it is, the readers who are likely to come to this book—undergraduates, mostly, in survey courses—probably won’t question Dunbar-Ortiz’s inaccurate assertion that the military phrase “in country” derives from the military phrase “Indian country” or her insistence that all Spanish people in the New World were “gold-obsessed.” Furthermore, most readers won’t likely know that some Ancestral Pueblo (for whom Dunbar-Ortiz uses the long-abandoned term “Anasazi”) sites show evidence of cannibalism and torture, which in turn points to the inconvenient fact that North America wasn’t entirely an Eden before the arrival of Europe.

A Churchill-ian view of native history—Ward, that is, not Winston—its facts filtered through a dense screen of ideology.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8070-0040-3

Page Count: 296

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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