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Water By Solomon

The world was born in water and will die fighting for it. So claims Steven Solomon in his recent book titled Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization (2010). Water, he argues, is indisputably a major catalyst of world history. The revolutionizing power of water is what civilizations as old as Egypt have in common with James Watt, one of the geniuses of modernity, whose steam engine essentially kicked off the industrial revolution. Even colonialism has water to thank for the miracle of its expansion.

But as the world nears the moment when it must confront the question of depleting resources and exploding population, fossil fuel would have to leave the center stage for the scramble over water, which Solomon claims, “is set to shape a new turning point in the world order and the destiny of civilization.” Solomon wants to argue that water is responsible for terrorism in the mid-east, China’s uncertain expansion, the West’s undying dream of world domination, and the stagnation of third-world economies. This polyvalence of water in the politics and destiny of the world is a bit over-stressed and is, perhaps, the weakest point of Mr. Solomon’s otherwise accessible and fairly entertaining book.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

4 Responses to “Water By Solomon” Subscribe

  1. melody 2010/08/02 at 07:57 #

    I might have to check this out!

  2. Ainehi 2010/08/04 at 03:08 #

    Hey Melody,

    I figured the idea of water interests you. The book was published by harper collins, and is prolly not extra-academic but you might find it informative.

  3. Boye 2010/08/04 at 17:49 #

    Interesting but probably overplayed argument. True water has shaped every civilization and there is rarely a major world city situated far from fresh water. However now that desalination is not science fiction the historical power of fresh water has shifted somewhat. Anyone looking to predict future trends should look to energy and population.

    Having said that, it is no accident I choose to live in the vicinity of the world’s largest freshwater reserves (save the polar icecap).

  4. Ainehi 2010/08/04 at 19:33 #

    LOL. You are not alone. I also live in such a vicinity.

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