Must Read, Must Act: ‘The Death and Life of the Great Lakes’

Print More

Review of The Death and Life of the Great Lakes By Dan Egan
Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

By Monica Drahonovsky

Did you know that 20% of all the world’s freshwater is sitting in the middle of the upper Midwest?  Did you know how the population of all the nine states and two countries are handling this amazing waterway?

Do you know anything about the economics of the Great Lakes and who is in complete charge of all this natural resource that should be protected and handled with extreme care? Why?  Because as human beings we have had and still do have the reputation of putting the dollar before common sense choices that will affect our grandchildren and great-grandchildren all over this beautiful country of ours.

The author, Dan Egan, has created a living testament to the Great Lakes and how we take care of them and the water-rich resources we have.  The answers are good, bad and ugly.

Monica Drahonovsky

Even government officials in Washington and elsewhere in state government, seem to sigh at the enormous challenge the waterways present.  We meet local people from all of the Great Lakes and what they think are some of the problems.

The author grabs your interest with a brief history of the planet and different bodies of the world.  Interesting stuff.  Then we get to the nitty gritty pettiness that only individuals can muster up.

You will meet government officials, state officials, owners of lots of the various great lakes, owners of companies that do business on the lakes and review their stories.  If you have ever had a bottle of water in your hand, then you need to read this book.

It is a mesmerizing read.  It is full of facts and information.  It is full of people who run the Army Corps of Engineers and all the state officials and Canadian officials who have voting rights on how to handle the many issues on the lakes.

Clarity is not present.  It is like looking to the bottom of the lake as you stand in the middle of a gently rocking boat, the answers are down there but cannot be read for many reasons.

These lakes are invaluable to every human being in the world.  We need to step back and really think about the future and what you want your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to face after we are gone.   As mortals, we are enmeshed in our own little worlds.

We need to take in the big picture and become more energized.  If we do anything in our lifetime, we need to realize that water is only finite on this planet.   There is nowhere to go to get more and replenish our stocks.  There are no do-overs when it comes to the future of water.  Think.  Act. Read this book.

It should be in every high school so young people can think about careers in saving water.  Go to your library or buy it.   Good reading – good activism.

Monica Reads is’s latest column. It is written by Monica Drahonovsky who is known for her love of history and her lifelong love for reading. She has a bachelor’s degree in History, with a minor in English, along with teaching credentials. “My years of reading for leisure and pleasure have given me the insight to read a book and analyze the author’s baggage, cargo and ability to write the language of his/her mind and utilize the gift of prose to educate and entertain the reader.  Go get a book, read it and enjoy the adventure.” Contact Monica at


Comments are closed.