The Death and Life of the Great Lakes
Booklist Reviews 2017 March #1
*Starred Review* For 10 years, Egan, an award-winning reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, covered the Great Lakes. He now channels his findings about these five inland seas holding 20 percent of the earth's fresh water into a vivid, fascinating, and alarming chronicle of an epic clash between natural order and human chaos. Egan maps the unique geography that for millennia kept the Great Lakes in pristine and thriving isolation, a resplendent abundance that didn't inspire stewardship in the new, colonizing North Americans, but rather dreams of wealth from international shipping. Egan charts the engineering feats and failures of the Erie and Welland Canals and the Saint Lawrence Seaway, which were too small to handle the envisioned shipping boom, yet capacious enough to allow seafaring ships to traverse the Great Lakes, carelessly dumping ballast water, which Egan describes as "mini-oceans" teeming with voracious invasive species. He precisely and dramatically elucidates the rampages of the sea lamprey, alewife, and zebra and quagga mussels, as well as the debacle of stocking the Great Lakes with coho salmon, and the ravages of water pollution. The devastation of the Great Lakes ecosystem delivered severe economic hardships, and new threats are pending, including the dreaded Asian carp. Egan's in-depth investigation is crucial testimony to the dire consequences of our profligate abuse of precious earthly resources. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2016 November #1
Winner of the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism and twice a Pulitzer Prize finalist for reporting that contributed to this book, Egan limns the terrible ecological threat to the Great Lakes. With a six-city tour.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.
LJ Reviews 2016 December #1
Milwaukee Sentinel Journal's Egan, "beat reporter" on the Great Lakes since 2003, examines the ecological and economic havoc caused by invasive species and also considers problems such as fluctuating lake levels and future threats including water diversion schemes. He shows how big engineering, canal building in particular, opened the lakes to shipping but also swung open the "front" (e.g., the Saint Lawrence Seaway) and "back" (e.g., Chicago Canal system) doors to nonindigenous aquatic species. Some critters hitchhiked in the ballast tanks of ships; others were carried in by the currents or swam. Swamp draining and river dredging have played their own pernicious parts in "unstitching a delicate ecological web more than 10,000 years in the making." Egan offers some bold solutions to slow the damage (e.g., develop better ballast disinfection systems, close the Saint Lawrence Seaway to ocean freighters, shut the Chicago Canal) but admits that obstacles such as the shipping lobby and foot-dragging politicians are formidable. Egan skillfully mixes science, history, and reportage to craft a compelling story. If, as he asserts, "the biggest threat to the Great Lakes right now is our own ignorance," then this book stands as important, timely mitigation. VERDICT This outstanding addition to science collections will appeal to general readers.—Robert Eagan, Windsor P.L., Ont.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.
PW Reviews 2017 January #1
Egan, a reporter for the