Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches

Against the Tide: The Battle for America's Beaches

by Cornelia Dean

Paperback(Reprint)

$27.95
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Overview

Americans love to colonize their beaches. But when storms threaten, high-ticket beachfront construction invariably takes precedence over coastal environmental concerns--we rescue the buildings, not the beaches. As Cornelia Dean explains in Against the Tide, this pattern is leading to the rapid destruction of our coast. But her eloquent account also offers sound advice for salvaging the stretches of pristine American shore that remain.

The story begins with the tale of the devastating hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas, in 1900--the deadliest natural disaster in American history, which killed some six thousand people. Misguided residents constructed a wall to prevent another tragedy, but the barrier ruined the beach and ultimately destroyed the town's booming resort business.

From harrowing accounts of natural disasters to lucid ecological explanations of natural coastal processes, from reports of human interference and construction on the shore to clear-eyed elucidation of public policy and conservation interests, this book illustrates in rich detail the conflicting interests, short-term responses, and long-range imperatives that have been the hallmarks of America's love affair with her coast.

Intriguing observations about America's beaches, past and present, include discussions of Hurricane Andrew's assault on the Gulf Coast, the 1962 northeaster that ravaged one thousand miles of the Atlantic shore, the beleaguered beaches of New Jersey and North Carolina's rapidly vanishing Outer Banks, and the sand-starved coast of southern California. Dean provides dozens of examples of human attempts to tame the ocean--as well as a wealth of lucid descriptions of the ocean's counterattack. Readers will appreciate Against the Tide's painless course in coastal processes and new perspective on the beach.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231084192
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 03/14/2001
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 889,029
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile: 1320L (what's this?)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Cornelia Dean is science editor of the New York Times, where she writes frequently on coastal issues. She is also heard regularly on WQEW and WQXR's "Health Times."

Table of Contents

1. September, Remember
2. The Great Beach
3. Armor
4. Unkind Cuts
5. Unnatural Appetite
6. Cause and Effect
7. The Big One
8. Clues
9. Constituency of Ignorance
10. For Sale
Epilogue

What People are Saying About This

Molly Ivins

For anyone who has ever walked along a beach in that Zen-like state that only beach walks provide, do not miss this book. Especially if you're a taxpayer.... I honestly think this could be one of those rare books that changes government policy — at local, state, and federal levels.

Orrin Pilkey

Outstanding.... It seems to me that the whole coastal zone crisis, as I view it, is covered. Yet it doesn't overwhelm; everything in its time and place. And it is so well written it will hold the reader's attention to the end.

Orrin Pilkey

Outstanding.... It seems to me that the whole coastal zone crisis, as I view it, is covered. Yet it doesn't overwhelm; everything in its time and place. And it is so well written it will hold the reader's attention to the end.

Orrin Pilkey, author of The Beaches Are Moving

David Williamson

Dean has done a terrific job in presenting this material, some of it very complex, in highly readable form and in clear, crisp prose. I look at this book doing the same thing for coastal conservation (and appealing to the same audience) as Marc Reisner's seminal Cadillac Desert did for Western water issues, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the building of dams. It takes an issue we all think we know (who hasn't been to the beach?) and turns the conventional wisdom on its head.

David Williamson, The Nature Conservatory

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