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Deep Water

The Epic Struggle over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment

Jacques Leslie

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

"If the wars of the last century were fought over oil, the wars of this century will be fought over water." -Ismail Serageldin, The World Bank

The giant dams of today are the modern Pyramids, colossally expensive edifices that generate monumental amounts of electricity, irrigated water, and environmental and social disaster.

With Deep Water, Jacques Leslie offers a searching account of the current crisis over dams and the world's water. An emerging master of long-form reportage, Leslie makes the crisis vivid through the stories of three distinctive figures: Medha Patkar, an Indian activist who opposes a dam that will displace thousands of people in western India; Thayer Scudder, an American anthropologist who studies the effects of giant dams on the peoples of southern Africa; and Don Blackmore, an Australian water manager who struggles to reverse the effects of drought so as to allow Australia to continue its march to California-like prosperity.

Taking the reader to the sites of controversial dams, Leslie shows why dams are at once the hope of developing nations and a blight on their people and landscape. Deep Water is an incisive, beautifully written, and deeply disquieting report on a conflict that threatens to divide the world in the coming years.

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Excerpted from Deep Water: The Epic Struggle Over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment by Jacques Leslie. Copyright © 2005 by Jacques Leslie. Published in September, 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.

PROLOGUE

Start with the primal dam, Hoover. The first dam of the modern era is America's Great Pyramid, whose face was designed without adornment to emphasize its power, to focus the eye on its smooth, arcing, awe-inspiring bulk. Yet the dam nods to beauty, with a grace that grows more precious year by year: its suave Art Deco railings, fluted brass
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jacques Leslie

  • Jacques Leslie is the author of The Mark: A War Correspondent's Memoir of Vietnam and Cambodia. A draft of Deep Water has won the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, judged by Ted Conover, Sara Mosle, and Jonathan Harr. Leslie lives in Mill Valley, California.
  • Jacques Leslie ©Jerry Bauer
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Deep Water

The Epic Struggle over Dams, Displaced People, and the Environment

Jacques Leslie

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