The Attacking Ocean by Brian Fagan

The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels - Brian M. Fagan

TITLE:  The Attacking Ocean


AUTHOR:  Brian Fagan




FORMAT:  ebook


ISBN-13:  9781608196951




In this book, Brian Fagan takes a look at the changing sea levels over the entire span of human civilization, from the end of the Ice Age to our current levels.  He also takes a look at the complex relationship between the growing human population and the oceans along which we live.  


Fagan provides a variety of case examples over a variety of ages all over the globe that show how rising ocean levels are as ancient as the Earth and that humans have usually adapted to the changing sea levels.  There is also some discussion on how the Netherlands and a few other countries have dealt with reclaiming or at least keeping the ocean at bay; and how feasible (politically and financially) these options are for poorer countries.   Fagan also briefly discusses the deleterious effect that the destruction of coastal estuaries, mangroves, barrier islands and wetlands, as well as excessive ground water pumping, has on mitigating the effects of storm surges, hurricanes, tsunamis and floods etc.  Fagan also provides a brief explanation why rising sea levels are important, for example: in terms of loss of agricultural land and increased salinity in ground water resulting in less food production;   loss of living land resulting in large migrations to other places that don’t want or can’t afford an excessive influx of people; the destruction of coastal cities/villages; and large financial expenditure to rebuild damaged infrastructure or flood barriers etc.


The book is fairly interesting and well written, but the various examples tend to have a lot of similarities, probably made unavoidable by the nature of the subject.  One interesting feature of this book is the second table of contents which arranges chapters in terms of regions rather than chronologically, providing an alternative reading order.  Maps of the different regions are provided but these don’t show up very well in the ebook.