New York : Bloomsbury Press, 2011.
1st U.S. ed.
xxvii, 384 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
The story of our most vital resource, and how it has shaped the history of every human society, spans five millennia, from ancient Mesopotamia to the parched Sun Belt, from ancient Rome, whose mighty aqueducts still supply modern cities, to China, where emperors marshaled armies of laborers in a centuries-long struggle to tame powerful rivers. Anthropologist Fagan sets out three ages of water: In the first, lasting thousands of years, water was scarce--so precious that it became sacred in almost every culture. By the time of the Industrial Revolution, human ingenuity had brought water to the most arid landscapes. This was the second age: water as commodity. Even bone-dry regions like the American Southwest glittered with swimming pools and golf courses. Today, we are entering a third age: as our population approaches nine billion and ancient aquifers run dry, we must learn once again to treat this essence of life with humility, even reverence.--From publisher description.
Includes bibliographical references and index.