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Water Is the indispensability of water in society and lifeSeth B. Darling and Seth W.
Snyder, World Scientific, £25.99

Water is essential to life on earth. There are many very interesting physical and chemical properties of water. The way in which these properties enable life on earth to exist and to play a varied and intricate role in ecology and human society is a highly important, complicated and topical subject.

To attempt to cover this broad subject in 180 pages in any degree of depth is unwise. The authors try to present their material in eight chapters; namely Water is; Chemistry and Physics, Biology, Nature, Society, Government, Innovation, Culture and The Future.

The result is a text which is highly superficial on any aspect, and yet in other respects assumes a considerable amount of previous knowledge for the text to be understood. Since there are no references and no index, it would be necessary to use the web or a library to explore further.The text does include some diagrams and histograms, several of which are not attributed to source data.

The final chapter on the future largely covers two subjects, namely climate change and water treatment. As with the rest of the book the presentation is partial and there are many other books which provide a far fuller and better handling of these subjects.

It is not at all clear what sort of audience this book is aimed at or to whom it would appeal.

Dr John C. Bowman, FRSB

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