Bottlemania: Book summary and reviews of Bottlemania by Elizabeth Royte

Bottlemania

How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It

By Elizabeth Royte

Bottlemania
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  • Published in USA  May 2008,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This portrait of the science, commerce and politics of potable water is an entertaining and eye-opening narrative." - Publishers Weekly.

"Lively investigative journalism." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Bottlemania is eye-opening and informative; you will never look at water – either "designer" or tap – in quite the same way. Royte demonstrates how everything is, in the end, truly connected." - Elizabeth Kolbert.

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Author Information

Elizabeth Royte Author Biography

Photo by Tony Israel

Elizabeth Royte has written for The New York Times magazine, Harpers, National Geographic, The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, Outside, Smithsonian, and other national magazines. Her work is included in The Best American Science Writing 2004 (Ecco/HarperCollins), the environmental omnibus Naked (FourWallsEightWindows), and Outside magazine's Why Moths Hate Thomas Edison (W.W. Norton & Company). A former Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow, Royte is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Book Review, a contributing editor for OnEarth, and a correspondent for Outside magazine. She is the author of The Tapir's Morning Bath: Solving the Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2001; Garbage Land, and Bottlemania. Elizabeth Royte ...

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