Pillar of Sand: Can the Irrigation Miracle Last? by Sandra Postel (W W Norton/ Worldwatch Books, 1999; $13.95; 313 pp.)
In her new book covering the subject of Earth's freshwater, Worldwatch Institute senior fellow Postel focuses on the role played by irrigation in the rise (and fall) of civilizations and explores the interconnected issues of population growth, sustainable agriculture, and water scarcity.
Skies of Fury: Weather Weirdness Around the World, by Patricia Barnes-Svarney and Thomas Svarney (Fireside/Touchstone, 1999; $12; 224 pp.; illus.)
For the 90 percent of people who cite weather reports as the most important part of the day's news, here is an easy-to-read survey of meteorological facts, explanations, and anecdotes.
The authors discuss strange phenomena like the hafgerdingar effect (a spiky mirage), cloudbows (white rainbows), and sundogs (halos that create the illusion of three Suns in the sky), as well as temperature, humidity, and winds.
Isaac's Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, by Erik Larson (Crown Publishers, 1999; $25; 320 pp.) This page-turner describes the hurricane that devastated Galveston, Texas, on September 8, 1900. To chronicle the tragedy, which killed at least six thousand people, journalist Larson uses both eyewitness accounts and the newspaper reports of one of the first professional weathermen employed by the new U.S. Weather Bureau.
The Wiley Encyclopedia of Environmental Pollution and Cleanup, edited by Robert A. Meyers and Diane Kender Dittrick (John Wiley and Sons, 1999; $295; 1,890 pp.; illus.)
This two-volume reference work (with contributions from nearly four hundred experts) is intended for the general public but isn't easy reading. Its up-to-date articles address such topics as acid rain, environmental law, waste treatment technologies, and pesticides.
The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age, by Richard Rudgley (Free Press, 1999; $26; 320 pp.; illus.)
The impressive achievements of our prehistoric ancestors-their discovery of the world's major landmasses, their precisely sized tools, their domestication of fire for heat and light, and the carved signs and symbols of their protowriting-are detailed by anthropologist Rudgley, of Oxford University's Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology.
A Little Corner of Freedom: Russian Nature Protection from Stalin to Gorbachev, by Douglas R. …