The Attacking Ocean by Brian Fagan

The book is subtitled “The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels”, a phrase which may sell books, but doesn’t accurately describe what you’re paying for. The Attacking Ocean is the history of sea levels, both rising and falling, since the last ice age and how man has acted on and reacted to those changes. The Past takes up 85% of the book, the Present 10% and The Future, a meagre 5%. The author approaches the subject as a researcher, meaning the story is long on data and short on thoughful assimilation. There is alot to learn here about Dutch dikes, Bangladeshi floods and what the Mississippi river was like before man began to screw with it’s natural flow.

Would I read it again? No. Even by the title you can tell the author believes the story is one of Good Man against Bad Nature. There is no hint that perhaps we deserve every drop of the floods we’ve caused by raising sea levels in the wake of our industrial activities. The last line of the book says it all. “The sooner we confront our predicament head-on, the better, for our challenge is to master the earth.” Master this, bucko. A little less mastery would be best for everyone – and everything – on our little planet.