A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout

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Crown Publishers, 2011 - Nature - 352 pages
3 Reviews
Carl Safina has been hailed as one of the top 100 conservations of the 20th century (Audubon Magazine) andA Sea in Flamesis his blistering account of the months-long manmade disaster that tormented a region and mesmerized the nation. Traveling across the Gulf to make sense of an ever-changing story and its often-nonsensical twists, Safina expertly deconstructs the series of calamitous misjudgments that caused theDeepwater Horizonblowout, zeroes in on BP’s misstatements, evasions, and denials, reassesses his own reaction to the government’s crisis handling, and reviews the consequences of the leak—and what he considers the real problems, which the press largely overlooked.

Safina takes us deep inside the faulty thinking that caused the lethal explosion. We join him on aerial surveys across an oil-coated sea. We confront pelicans and other wildlife whose blue universe fades to black. Safina skewers the excuses and the silly jargon—like “junk shot” and “top kill”—that made the tragedy feel like a comedy of horrors—and highlighted Big Oil’s appalling lack of preparedness for an event that was inevitable.

Based on extensive research and interviews with fishermen, coastal residents, biologists, and government officials,A Sea In Flameshas some surprising answers on whether it was “Obama’s Katrina,” whether the Coast Guard was as inept in its response as BP was misleading, and whether this worst unintended release of oil in history was really America’s worst ecological disaster.            
           
Impassioned, moving, and even sharply funny,A Sea in Flamesis ultimately an indictment of America’s main addiction. Safina writes: “In the end, this is a chronicle of a summer of pain—and hope.  Hope that the full potential of this catastrophe would not materialize, hope that the harm done would heal faster than feared, and hope that even if we didn’t suffer the absolutely worst—we’d still learn the big lesson here. We may have gotten two out of three.  That’s not good enough. Because: there’ll be a next time.”             

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User Review  - satyridae - LibraryThing

This was a fascinating read on so many fronts. One of the most interesting things for me as a huge Safina fan, was to watch him write from a state of blinding, towering rage. This book was written in ... Read full review

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User Review  - Sandydog1 - LibraryThing

This hurried work was, er, quite a surprise. An angry, fragmented diatribe, full of the author's "facts", as well as other "facts" from such peer-reviewed scientific powerhouses as AP, CNN, local ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

CARL SAFINA is author of, among other books, The View From Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World Song for the Blue Ocean. His honors include a Pew Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, World Wildlife Fund fellowship, the National Academies' communications award for year's best book, the John Burroughs Medal, Raab Medal, and a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. Audubon Magazine named him among the top 100 conservationists of the 20th century. Dr. Safina is an adjunct professor at Stony Brook University, an elected member of The Explorers Club, and founding president of Blue Ocean Institute. He has written upwards of 100 articles for scientific and popular journals and he lectures around the country. Visit: http://blueocean.org/ and http://carlsafina.org.

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