“Take Me to the Source”

In this superb book, Rupert Wright meanders through ecology and politics, antiquity and the arts, as he seeks to elucidate one of the earth’s greatest mysteries. Vivifying and benevolent, water captivates poets with its “slippery charms”, but also wreaks devastation. Wright’s attempts to grasp such an elusive substance occasionally throw him off course, but his enthusiasm and exhaustive research more than compensate.

Denouncing Al Gore’s declaration that “the earth is running a fever” as “the worst kind of anthropomorphism”, Wright blames our obsession with climate for eclipsing critical sanitation issues, and makes a plea to treat this natural resource as a gift rather than a commodity.

Take Me to the Source: In Search of Water
Rupert Wright
Vintage Books, 2009

— By Alexandra Masters


Copyright Guardian News and Media Limited, 2009