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The Bookshelf: Oct. 7, 2015

In this week's Bookshelf, our content partner Kirkus Reviews highlights A River Runs Again.

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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 RIVER RUNS AGAIN: India's Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka

by Meera Subramanian

This is investigative journalism as story: fact-filled but optimistic, rueful and inviting. She sounds five particular environmental issues — though, inevitably, they also reach into cultural and economic concerns — each a grave, ruinous path. She categorizes the five issues as elements: earth (agriculture, toxicity), water (purity), fire (pollution, disease), air (extinction, chemistry), and ether (reproductive health, sexual predation) ... The author also looks at industrial, residential, and sacrificial effluents that have contaminated the water supply; the destruction of wetlands; the overuse of groundwater; cookstove pollution; deforestation; chronic respiratory and heart diseases; the looming extinction of vultures (uncharismatic, yes, but “a natural and efficient disposal system”); the explosion of vicious, carrion-eating dogs; and the unwanted children and sexual violence that have become increasingly commonplace. In each chapter, as well, Subramanian offers specific antidotes as anecdotes, narrating in a measured, conversational, welcoming voice. Each of the stories is comprehensive while nimble, as well as provocative. Promising prescriptions to five of India’s baneful environmental cases — right thinking and accusatory in all the right places.

For the full review, visit

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