Listen to James Salzman's interview with WUNC-North Carolina Public Radio about Drinking Water

Latest Praise for Drinking Water
Nature: "[An] absorbing chronicle of our complex relationship with H20."
News & Observer: "Drinking Water is at once analytical – wonkish types will appreciate the sections on environmental law and policy options – and full of colorful characters and fascinating stories that bring complex policy questions and options to life."
The Daily Mail: "[James Salzman has] written a lively, informative and provocative book about the one liquid everyone on Earth drinks, often without a second thought. If there’s nothing in it to make your eyeballs actually pop out, there were several occasions when mine bulged with disbelief."
London Evening Standard: "James Salzman’s book is a look at this everyday commodity most of us take for granted and which proves, on further examination, to be far from unremarkable after all."
The Telegraph: "[F]ascinating... From the building of aquifers to the rise of drinking fountains... Keeping us healthy, it seems, is a never-ending fight full of pitfalls and perils."
The Mail on Sunday: "[James Salzman has] alighted on a subject that concerns us all and his stories are colourful enough to keep you turning the page."
NewScientist: "The scope of Salzman's book is impressive, encompassing everything from the construction of Roman aqueducts to subsidised water purification in Zambia."


When you turn on the tap or twist the cap, you might not give a second thought to where your drinking water comes from. But how it gets from the ground to your glass is far more complex than you might think. Is it safe to drink tap water? Should you feel guilty buying bottled water? Is your water vulnerable to terrorist attacks? With springs running dry and reservoirs emptying, where is your water going to come from in the future?

In Drinking Water, Duke professor James Salzman shows how drinking water highlights the most pressing issues of our time- from globalization and social justice to terrorism and climate change- and how humans have been wrestling with these problems for centuries.

Bloody conflicts over control of water sources stretch as far back as the Bible yet are featured in front page headlines even today. Only fifty years ago, selling bottled water sounded as ludicrous as selling bottled air. Salzman weaves all of these issues together to show just how complex a simple glass of water can be.

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