Unruly Waters: How Rains, Rivers, Coasts, and Seas Have Shaped Asia’s History
In the past, the subcontinent we call India broke loose from Madagascar and slammed into the Eurasian continent, causing the Himalayas to thrust skyward. These mountains act like a giant catcher’s mitt, collecting and dispersing melted snow and rain to a huge part of the earth through rivers that run through China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, and other nations, containing much of the world’s population. Unruly Water by Sunil Amrith begins as a history of the attempts to control and use the rivers’ waters. The author lists the efforts of the colonial powers to alleviate famine by controlling the rivers. Some seem grandiose, most were well-intentioned, but famine and unruly monsoons still ruled the area. The last half of the book deals with matters since independence and the takeover of China by the People’s Republic. Of great concern is the fact most of the rivers originate in Tibet, now owned by China. This is increasingly a cause for alarm in all nations downstream. Dams on the rivers in India have increased from 40 to more than 700 since Indian independence. Still there is not enough, and certainly not enough clean water for everyone. The big question Amrith addresses at the end of the book is how to apportion the water that is there, how to make it clean enough to drink, and how to keep global changes from degrading the supply further. A thought-provoking book on the problems of millions of people, for whom daily drinking water is a constant struggle.
|Page Count||416 pages|
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