Readings in Water History

(First Edition)
Edited by Nicholas B. Breyfogle and Mark Sokolsky
©2021, 328 pages

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Readings in Water History

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Summary
    Readings in Water History offers students a carefully curated selection of readings addressing major topics in global water history. The articles illuminate the history of humanity’s relationship with water, waterways, aquatic environments, and ecologies. The text introduces readers to essential questions and themes in water history and provides a wide range of perspectives on how past societies interacted with the waters around them.

    Section I explores human attempts to harness water’s potential and guard against its hazards. The relationship between water and early civilizations is addressed, with documents exploring ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. In Section II, students read about how humans have used water and aquatic resources as tools of generating human wealth, agriculture, industry, and creativity. Section III focuses on drinking water, sanitation, pollution, and disease. In Section IV, readings explore water as a means of leisure and a connection to the good life. The final section speaks to the interconnected nature of water, war, and diplomacy, showing how struggles and agreements have resulted over claims and use of this essential resource.

    Featuring an historical focus and illuminating sources, Readings in Water History is ideal for courses in environmental history.

    Nicholas B. Breyfogle is an associate professor and the director of the Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching at The Ohio State University. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in history from the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Breyfogle’s areas of expertise include environmental and water history and Russian and European history. He is editor of Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, origins.osu.edu.
    Mark Sokolsky received his Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University, specializing in Russian, modern European, and environmental history, and is currently an instructional designer at the Royal Military College of Canada.
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    "Until now, Water History has been a challenging course to teach, since much of the best scholarship in this field takes the form of lengthy monographs or specialized studies. The editors of Readings in Water History have performed a fantastic service by gathering together diverse and readable articles, organizing them thematically, and prefacing each group of articles with an excellent introduction and thoughtful discussion questions. This book will certainly be on my next Water History syllabus.”
    Ruth Mostern, Associate Professor of History and Director of the World History Center, University of Pittsburgh