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The Bookshelf: July 1, 2015

In this week's Bookshelf, our content partner Kirkus Reviews highlights A Field Philosopher's Guide to Fracking.

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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

A FIELD PHILOSOPHER'S GUIDE TO FRACKING: How One Texas Town Stood Up to Big Oil and Gas

by Adam Briggle

On the micro level, the author asks if the risks of fracking are too harmful to outweigh its development in his college town of Denton. Briggle calls on Thomas Hobbes, René Descartes, Immanuel Kant, and other philosophers for advice, but he distills the complexity of technological innovation into three elements to assure a “fair and reasonable bet”: those most vulnerable to harm must give consent, a system of monitoring must attend the experiment, and the experiment must be modifiable when problems arise. These all come to bear when a group is organized to confront the energy industry and the dangers of fracking. It is a fraught story, but Briggle tells it warmly and cogently, exploring both the interpersonal relationships involved and some of the geological science behind fracking.

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