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  • Published: 17 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141982632
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $22.99

Unruly Waters

How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons Have Shaped South Asia's History




A bold perspective on the history of Asia, highlighting the long quest to tame its waters.

Asia's history has been shaped by its waters. In Unruly Waters, historian Sunil Amrith reimagines Asia's history through the stories of its rains, rivers, coasts, and seas - and of the weather-watchers and engineers, mapmakers and farmers who have sought to control them. Looking out from India, he shows how dreams and fears of water shaped visions of political independence and economic development, provoked efforts to reshape nature through dams and pumps, and unleashed powerful tensions within and between nations.

Today, Asian nations are racing to construct hundreds of dams in the Himalayas, with dire environmental impacts; hundreds of millions crowd into coastal cities threatened by cyclones and storm surges. In an age of climate change, Unruly Waters is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand not only Asia's past and its future.

  • Published: 17 March 2020
  • ISBN: 9780141982632
  • Imprint: Penguin Press
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • RRP: $22.99

Praise for Unruly Waters

Stimulating, urgent, strikingly relevant . . . It's a tale of drought, flooding, famine, water management and mismanagement - and, looming over all these today, the uncertain consequences of climate change . . . histories of this kind are needed more than ever

Philip Ball, Nature

This is history told through water. By the end of the book readers will reach their own conclusion: we were once at the mercy of nature, but now we are at the mercy of our own folly because of the way we have abused it . . . startling

Victor Mallet, Literary Review

Unruly Waters enriches the spirit of enquiry, much like a river nourishing its banks. What makes this enrichment possible is Sunil Amrith's knowledge

Uddalak Mukherjee, Telegraph India

Lyrical . . . uses the lens of water to take the reader deep into South Asia's colonial past and through the post-independence period to contemporary times

Sujatha Byravan, The Hindu

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