- Audio Cassette
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Abridged edition (Mar. 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671575597
- ISBN-13: 978-0671575595
- Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 12.1 x 17.8 cm
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
8,771,328 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #4752 in Books > Science & Nature > Biological Sciences > Ecology > Biodiversity
- #17645 in Books > Health, Family & Lifestyle > Medical & Healthcare Practitioners > Other Branches of Medicine > Pharmacology
- #19932 in Books > Science & Nature > Earth Sciences & Geography > The Environment > Conservation
And the Waters Turned to Blood Audio Cassette – Abridged, Mar 1997
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A compelling book that portrays the gauntlet of bureaucracy that Dr. JoAnn Burkholder had to ordeal when she discovered something in the waters off of the Eastern Seaboard. The leaders of N.C.'s DEM, and the DEHNR showed their obvious distaste for her and her work when this information proved to be threatening "the machine" of business as usual.
What's most shocking about the whole things is 1. The lengths that the health department officials will go to cover this up, and truly not deal with an obvious health crisis; and 2. THIS IS A TRUE STORY that is still unfolding today off the East Coast.
Well written and with courage. 5 - stars!
"Get into the fight before it's too late"
The main focus of the book is top researcher JoAnn Burkholder, and her struggle to get beyond the politics and bureaucracy of various agencies in North Carolina, in order to obtain funding to continue her research on the organism. The increased water pollution in recent years, in the form of livestock-manure runoff, and dumpings from industry, have created an environment that favors the flourishing of pfiesteria. It has at least 24 stages of life cycle, remaining in a dormant cyst stage until it senses the presence of fish. Then it comes to life, zapping the fish with a kind of neurotoxin and then eating holes in the fish. Humans who come into contact with water in which pfiesteria (in its toxic stage) is present, often suffer skin lesions that won't heal, memory loss, and disorientation. Chronic exposure can lead to personality changes and loss of cognitive function that emulates brain damage, which is what happened to lab worker Howard Glasgow, whose story is discussed in detail in this book.
It is a tale that seems familiar: a strong-willed scientist makes a major discovery about what is killing fish in North Carolina's waterways. Then she has to deal with greedy and jealous scientists who wish they had been the ones to make the discovery, and who try to ruin her career. Then she must face the media attention, and finds herself becoming an advocate for the citizens, who simply want to know if that thing that is harming the fish can harm humans too. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to say YES. But the stuffed shirts in the government agencies don't want to hear it: swayed by money, rather than truth and justice, it's business as usual. Then there is the classic conflict between jobs vs. environment. When fishermen are getting too sick to function, an! d all the fish are dead, anybody with a brain would choose "environment" over "job". Wouldn't they?
Next time I'm near a body of water where dead fish covered with bloody lesions are floating, I plan to run fast in the opposite direction.
To what degree were everyday Germans responsible for the Nazi Holocaust? Similarly, to what degree are the recalcitrant American media responsible for not covering wildly important stories such as the Pfiesteria plague, wholly preventable if greedy industries were forced to comply with precepts of human decency by being fined heavily for polluting? (Only a self-interested beaureacratic bimbo would deny the link between industrial pollution and the explosion of Pfiesteria blooms.)
Last week the Chesapeake Bay area was decimated by fishkills and Pfiesteria. Next week it will be some place else. Meanwhile, the media largely ignores the topic to avoid "mass hysteria" and to keep the profits flowing. To what degree are you, dear reader, responsible for not learning more about Pfiesteria by reading this book and then by making some irate phone calls and writing some irate letters because you'd enjoy a healthy America for future generations?
Our greatest living novelist, Kurt Vonnegut, suggests in an essay that carved on a Grand Canyon wall in great big letters for the flying-saucer people who arrive in a hundred years and find a dead planet with no people should be these messages: "WE PROBABLY COULD HAVE SAVED OURSELVES BUT WERE TOO DAMNED LAZY TO TRY VERY HARD. AND TOO DAMNED CHEAP." Rodney Barker's superlative book certainly supports this idea.
Richard Rhodes' DEADLY FEASTS, about the American Med-Cow disease cover-up, also supports Vonnegut's idea: we are too lazy and cheap to save ourselves
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