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Royte (Garbage Land) plunges into America's mighty thirst for bottled water in an investigation of one of the greatest marketing coups of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As tap water has become cleaner and better-tasting, the bottled water industry has exploded into a $60 billion business; consumers guzzle more high-priced designer water than milk or beer and spend billions on brands such as Pepsi's Aquafina and Coke's Dasani that are essentially processed municipal water. It's an unparalleled—and almost exclusively American—social phenomenon. With journalistic zeal, Royte chronicles the questionable practices of Nestle-owned Poland Springs and documents the environmental impact of discarded plastic bottles, the carbon footprint of water shipped long distances and health concerns around the leaching of plastic compounds from bottles. Not all tap water is perfectly pure, writes Royte, still, 92% of the nation's 53,000 local water systems meet or exceed federal safety standards and it is the devil we know, at least as good and often better than bottled water. This portrait of the science, commerce and politics of potable water is an entertaining and eye-opening narrative. (June)
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Fantastic. (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
Ingenious.... Amiably, without haranguing or hyperventilating, this veteran environmental writer has produced what could be, assuming enough people read it, one of the year's most influential books. (Boston Globe)
Royte's lively investigation of water politics will leave you ashamed to drink out of plastic, uneasy about the tap, and impressed by her ability to synthesize complicated material into such a witty and engaging book. (Entertainment Weekly)
An easy-to-swallow survey.... after you read it you will sip warily from your water bottle (whether purchased or tap, plastic or not), as freaked out by your own role in today's insidious water wars as by Royte's recommended ecologically responsible drink: 'Toilet to tap'. (Lisa Margonelli, New York Times Book Review)
Light and easy-to-read narrative…lots of interesting factoids… (Providence Journal-Bulletin)
At a time of climate change and increasing risks to global water supplies, we must change the way we think about this crucial resource and begin treating it as a public good to be preserved, rather than the equivalent of an oil deposit or timber forest, ripe for corporate exploitation. (New Scientist)
An intriguing look at a totem of the ultramodern, perhaps selfish, way we live now (Time Out Chicago)
a well-balanced, interesting and instructive book about our fundamental human need to drink water (Chicago Sun Times)
Seamlessly blending scientific explanation and social observation (LA Times Book Review)
Bottlemania makes the case that it's not in our interests to let private multinational corporations float their boats on our nation's water. That's not democracy, it's dam-ocracy, and it could damn us all if we let their unquenchable thirst for profit take precedence over our right to clean, safe, free drinking water. (Kerry Trueman, Huffingtonpost.com)
An intrepid, intelligent analysis of Americans' raging thirst for bottled water. (BookPage)
An essential, if somewhat disturbing, read. (VeryShortList.com)
A breezy, accessible history of water through the ages....a good account of the tensions in the little town of Fryeburg, Maine. (New York Post)
A sharp indictment of the bottled-water industry (New York Observer)
Informative (Meghan O'Rourke, Slate.com)
Compelling and dynamic (Library Journal)
Entertaining and eye-opening (Publishers Weekly)
Bottlemania is eye-opening and informative; you will never look at water - either "designer" or tap - in quite the same way. Royte demonstrates how everything is, in the end, truly connected. (Elizabeth Kolbert)
Royte deserves credit for her tenacity and well-balanced approach….Lively investigative journalism. (Kirkus Reviews)