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Publisher's Summary

An eye-opening and essential tour of the vanishing world

What if Atlantis wasn't a myth but an early precursor to a new age of great flooding? Across the globe, scientists and civilians alike are noticing rapidly rising sea levels and higher and higher tides pushing more water directly into the places we live, from our most vibrant, historic cities to our last remaining traditional coastal villages. With each crack in the great ice sheets of the Arctic and Antarctica and each tick upward of Earth's thermometer, we are moving closer to the brink of broad disaster.

By century's end, hundreds of millions of people will be retreating from the world's shores as our coasts become inundated and our landscapes transformed. From island nations to the world's major cities, coastal regions will disappear. Engineering projects to hold back the water are bold and may buy some time. Yet, despite international efforts and tireless research, there is no permanent solution - no barriers to erect or walls to build - that will protect us in the end from the drowning of the world as we know it.

The Water Will Come is the definitive account of the coming water, why and how this will happen, and what it will all mean. As he travels across 12 countries and reports from the front lines, acclaimed journalist Jeff Goodell employs fact, science, and first-person, on-the-ground journalism to show vivid scenes from what already is becoming a water world.

©2017 Jeff Goodell (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"In this engaging book, environmental writer Goodell points out that while sea levels have always risen and fallen, the current rise is driven primarily by the dramatically accelerating melting of the arctic ice caps, and with so many cities on seashores, this will be devastating." ( Booklist)
"Jeff Goodell has taken on some of the most important issues of our time, from coal mining to geoengineering. In The Water Will Come, he explains the threat of sea level rise with characteristic rigor and intelligence. The result is at once deeply persuasive and deeply unsettling." (Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times best-selling author of The Sixth Extinction)

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    5 out of 5 stars

Very interesting

A lot of statistics and reasonable projections are given; when I say 'reasonable', I mean frightening to most people, because in my experience, most people blow off climate change caused by humans. Doesn't anyone read Scientific American or Science Daily any more? Anthropogenic climate change is happening in front of our eyes. But I don't believe that anyone will do anything about it, and as far as I can tell, it's already too late. The tipping point has already been reached, and people aren't going to change. The author pretty much believes that, too. He makes a good case for it, so it's an honest book. The water WILL come, and when it does, all we can do is adapt and/or run. Good book.

14 people found this helpful

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Well-intentioned but amateurish

While the general premise of this book is correct (sea levels are currently rising due to global warming caused by humans) and the author reaches many reasonable conclusions, at least several of the scientific and mathematical statements given in this book are false. Fossil fuels do NOT come from dinosaur bones (oil formed from plankton and coal formed from Carboniferous organisms), there is NOT a black hole at the edge of our solar system (12 billion miles away - although there is one 12 billion light years away), a budgetary comparison incorrectly states that increasing 2 billion dollars by 1000 times would be 1 trillion dollars (it would be 2 trillion dollars), etc. The only reason I finished the book was because I enjoyed the anecdotes of the author's interviews with experts. But after noticing many glaring quantitative errors I had to take all of his specific facts and figures with a heavy grain of salt.

12 people found this helpful

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Thought provoking

Gloomy but very well researched and written. I especially enjoyed the summaries of sea-level structures built (or being designed) across the world.

10 people found this helpful

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What Global Warming Will Do

There is a lot of terribly important information here. Goodell is very convincing that the world is in big trouble. The book rambles slightly, and the reader mispronounces several names. But it's very much worth listening to.

8 people found this helpful

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  • 01-02-18

Science doesn’t care about beliefs

This book will help you understand what rising seas will actually look like. And it was written BEFORE the 2017 hurricane season.

16 people found this helpful

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The coming deluge

Goodell paints a pretty compelling grim picture of what is going to happen to worlds coastlines and and islands over the the coming decades. Disturbing reporting, even more disturbing that nobody seems to give a damn.

18 people found this helpful

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A must hear.

I thought I knew enough about the serious issues facing our planet at least as far as climate change goes and sea level rise. This book is interesting well researched and very informative. I highly recommend it.

9 people found this helpful

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Engaging book, well told

This book actually filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge about Global warming. Easy listen, artfully written.

10 people found this helpful

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Many anecdotes but not enough solutions

Goodell describes the effects of sea level on a dozen or more cities from countries around the world, including major American cities like Miami, New Orleans, Norfolk VA, and New York City. Goodell missed an opportunity to discuss Seattle's underground city in which the Pioneer Square downtown section was raised 22 feet at the onset of the twentieth century to combat flooding and plague epidemics. Cities around the world, as briefly described by Goodell, may attempt similar projects.
Goodell interviews President Obama, Senator John Kerry & a number of climate-change scientists. He also interveiws Walter Alverez, one of the proposers of the asteroid hypothesis for the KT extinction, but that section didn't have much to do with climate change. He mentions the climate-change denial movement and the role of the Koch brothers, with particular reference to Virginia and the US Congress.
Goodell provides descriptions of Venice’s & Lagos Nigeria’s problems with sea-level rise and the existential crisis faced by the Marshall Islands, where the only solution might be moving the entire population.
I would have preferred that Goodell spend more time on the science of sealevel rise, in particular, what are the rates and uncertainties in different estimates of sealevel rise? I would have liked a more systematic discussion of the different types of solutions faced by cities and how to implement them. Goodell discusses solutions from building schools on rafts of barrels to building coastal barriers costing tens of billions in dollars. Goodell notes that the problems of damage from sealevel rise are being exacerbated by federal and private insurers, which should be reducing not maintaining or facilitating the ownership of at-risk coastal properties. Reisner's 'Cadillac Desert' successfully identified the cause of the uneconomic destruction of most of our nation's rivers due to the Army Corps of Engineers work, funded by Congressional pork barrel funding. Reisner identified President Carter as one of the few politicians who tried to reverse the process, but lost to unrelenting bipartisan opposition from Congess. A similar effort may be required by the government and insurers to stop the funding of projects in vulnerable coastal areas.
The real solution to sea-level rise must be a worldwide effort to draw down greenhouse gas concentrations as described in Paul Hawken's (ed.) Drawdown. When the cost of sealevel rise is added to models of future world gross domestic product, the cost of drawing down greenhouse gas emissions with Hawken's solutions would probably appear small.

1 person found this helpful

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A Must Read in a Changing World

Great book looking at climate change and rising sea levels. I was engaged every step of the way. This book is essential to understanding the complexities of dealing with the future of our world's coastlines.

1 person found this helpful

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  • p
  • 11-23-18

Disappointing and far too long

After all the good reviews of this book I was really looking forward to something thought provoking but it spends far far too much time just talking about things people are doing now. These changes will take generations to occur and even if we stop making the situation worse the waters will come. It would have been more interesting what needs to happen now and in 20 years then in 40...
Very disappointing and a missed opportunity

2 people found this helpful

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  • sam
  • 09-09-19

Eye opening

Great eye opening look into what could happen and what has happened. Great Narrator l!