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Heart of Dryness: How the Last Bushmen Can Help Us Endure the Coming Age of Permanent Drought

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  35 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The dramatic story of the Bushmen of the Kalahari is a cautionary tale about water in the twenty-first century—and offers unexpected solutions for our time.

"We don't govern water. Water governs us," writes James G. Workman. I n Heart of Dryness, he chronicles the memorable saga of the famed Bushmen of the Kalahari—remnants of one of the world's most successful civilizatio
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by Walker Books
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May 26, 2009 Weavre rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who doesn't think this issue is important
Recommended to Weavre by: Vine
This readable, carefully documented little book seems essential reading for anyone not aware of the global water crisis--and important, fascinating reading for anyone who is.

Workman shares the example of the Bushmen, indigenous residents of Africa's dry Kalahari region, to illustrate one way that contemporary governments may cut off access to water in order to control independent-minded people. While he does share many of the Bushmen's strategies for thriving while using very little water themse
Oct 21, 2009 Christine rated it it was amazing
What a great and unexpected book! I thought it would be another depressing tale of African despair, but Jamie Workman takes this story of Kalahari Bushmen and makes it into an inspiring saga form which we can learn much about how to live in a world of less water. Highly recommended.
Shannon Stoney
Jun 01, 2009 Shannon Stoney rated it liked it
This is a long and very detailed account of how a band of Kalahari Bushmen defied their government--the government of Botswana--and won the right to continue living in their desert home. The author, an American, spent seven years in Botswana, and he made many visits into the Kalahari to visit with and interview this extended family, headed by an elderly woman. She is a central figure in the narrative.

I thought that this book would tell more specifically about how the Bushmen survive in such a dr
Oct 23, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it
There was quite a bit of food for thought in this book - how do we continue development when water, a resource we can't live with out, is becoming more scarce due to climate change and due to our overuse? The author gives a great first hand account of how the Bushmen in Tanzania have dealt with living in a desert and with a government that is actively trying to end their hunter-gatherer way of life and assimilate them into the 'modern' world. The book also touches on a few other of my pet intere ...more
Jan 26, 2014 Melissa rated it it was amazing
A surprisingly relevant book made more poignant now that CA has announced a state of 'drought' emergency. It enlightened me to several important environmental and social issues faced internationally and here in the US.
Absolutely recommended!

In addition to the new awareness of water rights and politics, I was shocked to read the human rights struggles occurring so recently in the Kalahari. I grew up reading Laurens van der Post, whose stories formed my respect for the Bushmen. I was relieved to k
Oct 19, 2009 Alice rated it liked it
A very interesting story and I enjoyed reading it. I had no idea there was so much tension between the Botswana government and the Bushmen. But, the author really tries too hard to find universal lessons for us all in the way Bushmen live. It's too much of a stretch.
Aloud LA
May 20, 2010 Aloud LA is currently reading it
Los Angeles, summer is here and water is of utmost importance. Come hear James Workman speak about his research and latest book on water at ALOUD at Central Library on Thursday, June 17th.
Aug 02, 2010 Jackson rated it it was amazing
Oh, I am inspired to never waste another drop of water again. There are more good ideas about water than I would have ever thought of. I am happy to have met Qoroxloo.
Richard Williams
Nov 11, 2009 Richard Williams rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
i appreciated the book and the author's work with bushman. a bit short on actual concrete recommendations he learned from they however.
bobby mccormick
Jun 13, 2011 bobby mccormick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
poignant and powerful. if you have any interest in africa, water, or environmental understanding, put this on your list.
Jun 27, 2012 Nora rated it really liked it
Interesting book talking about water conflicts in the modern age. I learned a lot about water issues in Africa.
Eric Roston
My review in Nature Reports: Climate Change
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James Workman, graduate of Yale and Oxford, became an award-winning journalist in Washington DC, and a natural resources speechwriter to Bruce Babbitt in the Clinton Administration. For seven years in Africa he led investigative research safaris, advised statesmen, businesses, aid agencies and conservation organizations on water scarcity. His experience with Kalahari Bushmen forms the core narrati ...more
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