Unruly Waters: How Rains, Rivers, Coasts, and Seas Have Shaped Asia's History

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Product Details

Basic Books
Publish Date
6.4 X 9.3 X 1.5 inches | 1.4 pounds

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About the Author

Sunil Amrith is the Mehra Family Professor of South Asian Studies and Professor of History at Harvard University and a 2017 MacArthur Fellow. The prize-winning author of Crossing the Bay of Bengal, as well as several other books and articles, he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


"A compelling history of India over the last 200 years mostly describing how its people and rulers have dealt with the weather. "--Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"When confronted with tragedy, the modernist project has always retreated behind the sober voice of science. There is no more vivid description of this encounter than Sunil Amrith's wonderful new book, nor a better example of combining sympathy for the main protagonists---the planners, the engineers, the meteorologists---with a sustained sense of how, with the best of intentions, things can go horribly wrong."--Abhijit V. Banerjee, coauthor of Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
"In this groundbreaking work, Sunil Amrith deftly and imaginatively steers us towards an understanding of both water's worldly historical importance and its sublime capacity to exceed the human scale. Between its haunting opening pages and chilling epilogue, Amrith's sensitive, deeply engaging, and densely woven narrative reminds us that the present water crisis is the legacy of a colonial past---not of the peculiarities of Asian people and climate. This is a politically urgent book that shows the need to tell more expansive histories to help us address climate risks that transcend national borders."--Priya Satia, author of Empire of Guns: The Violent Making of the Industrial Revolution
"Across Asia, water is power. Sunil Amrith's Unruly Waters is a gripping work, both timely and necessary, that captures the forces at work in the struggle to control Asia's water. From cultural influences of colonial empire engineering to atmospheric chemistry in a time of climate change, Amrith reveals all that is at stake for half the planet's population."--Meera Subramanian, author of A River Runs Again