Reviews

  • Smith takes readers on a tour of the world's great rivers - past, present, and future. The result is fascinating, eye-opening, sometimes alarming, and ultimately inspiring.

    Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sixth Extinction
  • Smith has written a tour de force - a narrative as powerful as the rivers he documents. He is up there with Jared Diamond - a storyteller with real craft. From Herodotus musing on the Nile to the dam makers of modern China, this is their story.

    Fred Pearce, author of When The Rivers Run Dry
  • What do rivers give us? Among many other things: cheap transport, dam disasters, fish, floods, highways, hydroelectric power, inspiration for art and music, irrigation water, national boundaries, and the reason for Stalingrad. This book about rivers is as fascinating as it is beautifully written

    Jared Diamond, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs and Steel, and Upheaval
  • Smith is passionate about his field of study, and infectiously enthusiastic about how our scientific understanding of rivers has developed ... an eclectic journey through several millennia.

    Victor Mallet, The Financial Times
  • Instructive and entertaining. Smith's prose is clear and he explains scientific concepts well.

    The Times
  • A hymn to hydrology ancient and modern.

    The Spectator
  • With scholarship, literary flair, and a personal touch, Smith takes the reader on a fascinating and surprising voyage of discovery. He also sounds a clarion call for all of us to invest in protecting our rivers as a means of improving our own lives.

    Eric Jay Dolin, bestselling author of Black Flags, Blue Waters
  • How can one write a world history of rivers? Laurence C. Smith triumphantly meets the challenge, fluently comparing the role of rivers in wartime, in trade, in water management, in floods and droughts, and, looking to the future, in a world of rising temperatures.

    David Abulafia, author of The Boundless Sea
  • Engaging, informative, magisterial in its coverage, intimidating in the scope of its command of the material, there's no end to the good things to be said about this book.

    Geography Realm
  • Absorbing. Smith is not only an excellent storyteller, he is also perhaps the world's leading scientist using satellites to unlock the secrets of the planet's rivers. His deep understanding will inspire readers to see rivers in wholly new and surprising ways.

    Paul Bates, Professor of Hydrology, University of Bristol