How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It
By Elizabeth Royte
(Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, Hardcover, 9781596913714, 248pp.)
Publication Date: May 13, 2008
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An incisive, intrepid, and habit-changing narrative investigation into the commercialization of our most basic human need: drinking water.
Having already surpassed milk and beer, and second now only to soda, bottled water is on the verge of becoming the most popular beverage in the country. The brands have become so ubiquitous that we're hardly conscious that Poland Spring and Evian were once real springs, bubbling in remote corners of Maine and France. Only now, with the water industry trading in the billions of dollars, have we begun to question what it is we're drinking and why.
In this intelligent, eye-opening work of narrative journalism, Elizabeth Royte does for water what Eric Schlosser did for fast food: she finds the people, machines, economies, and cultural trends that bring it from nature to our supermarkets. Along the way, she investigates the questions we must inevitably answer. Who owns our water? What happens when a bottled-water company stakes a claim on your town's source? Should we have to pay for water? Is the stuff coming from the tap completely safe? And if so, how many chemicals are dumped in to make it potable? What's the environmental footprint of making, transporting, and disposing of all those plastic bottles?
A riveting chronicle of one of the greatest marketing coups of the twentieth century as well as a powerful environmental wake-up call, Bottlemania is essential reading for anyone who shells out two dollars to quench their daily thirst.