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The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

Cover: 'The Death and Life of the Great Lakes'

Staff Review: "The Death and Life of the Great Lakes" by Dan Egan


Dan Egan, a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, provides a comprehensive portrayal of the Great Lakes, past and present, and a thorough analysis of the challenges the lakes have endured and continue to face. After establishing a portrait of the Great Lakes as they would have been experienced by the first European explorers, Egan traces the history of the development of the Great Lakes in terms of navigation, shipping, recreation, and fishing. (There’s also sanitation, which we mustn't forget, as much as we may want to.) Particular topics of interest that he covers include non-native species that have invaded the lakes via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, the Chicago Canal system (which links the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River watershed), and water diversion. It’s an informative and compelling story of nature, science, human intervention, and unintended (though not necessarily unforeseen) consequences that may have no remedy. I highly recommend this book, which is thoughtful and sobering on a topic near and dear to many residents of the Badger state. Recommended for those who are interested in science, ecology, and/or the Great Lakes.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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