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Water is the illustrated story of the most extraordinary molecule known to humankind - one that has determined our beginnings, sustains our present and holds the key to our future. This miraculous substance covers more than 70 per cent of planet Earth and constitutes about 70 per cent of our bodies - yet if all the Earth's fresh water were decanted into a gallon jug, less than a tablespoon would be drinkable. All known forms of life depend on water to survive - yet in many places this has been taken for granted until recently. As Benjamin Franklin remarked, 'When the well's dry, we know the worth of water'. When we bathe, wash our clothes and clean our dishes, we turn on the tap and out it pours. But where does water really come from?
This book answers the questions with a wealth of fascinating detail. "Water" is an intriguing look at the many sources and forms of water on Earth - from icebergs, glaciers and aquifers to steam, frost and dew - and an insightful, thought-provoking explanation of the countless uses to which it is put, from hydroelectricity and irrigation to waterwheels and fountains. This story is told through more than 100 beautiful and evocative photographs with clear, simple text which draws upon science as well as mythology and cultural history.
Mark Niemeyer is Associate Professor of American literature and American history at the University of Paris (Sorbonne). He has published articles on the sea novels of Herman Melville and is coeditor of the Norton Critical Edition of Melville's The Confidence-Man and of the French Pleiade edition of the works of Melville.