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The Bookshelf: March 26, 2014

In this week's Bookshelf, our content partner Kirkus Reviews highlights The Frackers and The Attacking Ocean.

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Trib+Water is joining with respected books authority Kirkus Reviews to bring you select reviews of books of note in the field of water studies. For more book reviews and recommendations, visit

THE FRACKERS: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters

by Gregory Zuckerman

The author chronicles the success of a group of wildcatters initially operating on the fringes of the energy industry. Fracking—a shorthand term for high-pressure, hydraulic fracturing of rock to release oil or gas—was a known technology since the days of the Civil War, but it took off during the economic boom of the 1990s. Zuckerman profiles the major players in the game, and he also addresses the ecological impact of the technology. He believes that while there are issues — e.g., potential contamination of the water supply and increased seismic activity — he is optimistic that they can be addressed and remedied in a proper regulatory environment. A first step would be to reveal the composition of pressurized liquid to ensure that it does not contain toxins or carcinogens.

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THE ATTACKING OCEAN: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels

by Brian Fagan

The author believes that man has about 50 years to change his ways and either adopt a long-term commitment to investing in the engineering skills and projects that can provide protection against the rise of the seas or relocate tens of millions of threatened people to higher ground. Fagan reviews both the long-term effect of very small annual rises and the more immediately disastrous results of tsunamis, hurricanes and typhoons. … These effects, as well as his imaginative reconstructions of their consequences on the human communities of the time—e.g., Doggerland in the English Channel—provide a standpoint from which to consider the warming trend and ocean rise that began to set in again since the Industrial Revolution.

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