"In this richly narrated and authoritative work--combining environmental and societal history--Giulio Boccaletti begins with the earliest civilizations of sedentary farmers on the banks of the Nile, the Tigris, and the Euphrates. He describes how these societies were made possible by sea level changes from the last glacial melt. He examines how this sedentary farming led to irrigation and multiple cropping, which, in turn, resulted in an explosion in population and the specialization of labor. We see how irrigation structure led to social structure--inventions like the calendar sprung from agricultural necessity; how, in Ancient Greece, communal ownership of wells laid the groundwork for democracy; how the Greek and Roman experience dealing with water security was the seed for tax systems. And he makes clear how the modern world as we know it began with a legal structure for the development of water infrastructure. In its scope and clarity, Water: A Biography provides a fascinating framework through which we can more fully understand society's relationship to, and fundamental reliance on, the most elemental substance on our planet"--
Map on liner papers.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 301-358) and index.