The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels

Brian Fagan, Author
Brian Fagan. Bloomsbury, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60819-692-0
Reviewed on: 02/18/2013
Release date: 06/11/2013
Paperback - 265 pages - 978-1-60819-694-4
Open Ebook - 978-1-60819-695-1
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Data pulled from a diverse base of geological studies, archaeological finds, historical documentation, and modern reporting ground this broad and accessible survey of the interaction between rising sea levels and humanity over the past 9,000 years. Fagan, an emeritus professor of anthropology at U.C. Santa Barbara, explains that since the dawn of human society, people have struggled to reconcile the ocean’s value with its destructiveness, yet he argues that the modern tendency to build dense metropolises in coastal areas leaves us “vulnerable to the ocean and its whims in ways unimaginable even one or two centuries ago,” and creates situations where one-time disasters like Hurricane Sandy and chronic issues like rising sea levels in Bangladesh lead to environmental refugee crises, “not as an abstract problem for the future, but as a sobering reality.” Alternate tables of contents allow readers to explore the material chronologically or geographically, and each chapter is both self-contained and intimately connected to the grander narrative. Fagan (Cro-Magnon) compellingly urges individuals and governments to realize that the rising sea level is an increasingly urgent problem, and the development of sustainable solutions should be at the forefront of public discourse. Unlike our less populous ancestors, we no longer have the luxury of simply moving to higher ground. Agent: Susan Rabiner, Susan Rabiner Literary Agency, Inc. (June)
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