Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dennis, Jerry (The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas)

Yet another example of fantastic science writing. And my second of two in a row that puts the author front and center in the drama surrounding the science.

Clearly, I am not correct in thinking that Rebecca Skloot was unique in making her personal story an important and integral part of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Because that's also what Jerry Dennis does in this volume-- in order to tell the story of the Great Lakes, he actually journeys them, describing his feelings and his crew mates' feelings about the adventure, interspersing the adventurous sections with science, history and discussions of pest control.

And in the process, you learn a lot about the Lakes while being entertained. I live smack dab between 3 (4 if you count interestingly) of the Lakes, so this was more interesting to me than perhaps for most peopled. But I'd be surprised if people around the world wouldn't be alternately thrilled, saddened and educated by this book. It's quite well written-- he has a poetic side that does him credit for a book of this scope. How do you appropriately describe waves? Dunes? Vast expanses of blue? Poetry has to be in your blood to do that.

Also, water in general? I have a far healthier respect for all aspects of it than I did before reading this.

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