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A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  82 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Carl Safina has been hailed as one of the top 100 conservations of the 20th century (Audubon Magazine) and A Sea in Flames is his blistering account of the months-long manmade disaster that tormented a region and mesmerized the nation. Traveling across the Gulf to make sense of an ever-changing story and its often-nonsensical twists, Safina expertly deconstructs the series ...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published April 19th 2011 by Crown (first published January 1st 2011)
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Aug 22, 2011 Travis rated it liked it
The book has three parts, with part 2 getting the most pages.
1) The timeline leading up to the blowout
2) An account of the authors time spent in the gulf region the months after the spill
3) An early look at the aftermath and commentary about our energy future

Part 1 (timeline) is excellent and the best explanation for what caused the blowout that I have read. There was no one mistake that caused the blowout, there were a dozen. This section of the book gets 5 stars.

Part 2 (dear diary) starts out
Nov 22, 2016 Katie rated it it was amazing
I only review books that I really love and there are so many good things to say! There is such tangible passion and anger in the author's telling of this event. The effects of this event were human, environmental, political and more far-reaching that I realized. this book!

The book begins with a rather interesting preface that I didn't quite appreciate until Part Three. The bulk of the book is information, education, emotion. It is asking "Why" in all the right places. Yes, there wa
May 22, 2011 Melody rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating read on so many fronts. One of the most interesting things for me as a huge Safina fan, was to watch him write from a state of blinding, towering rage. This book was written in real time, with a few later comments inserted here and there. I think that writing well from a place of blistering anger is incredibly difficult, and watching Safina fulminate wildly at the beginning was both a little disconcerting and a little reassuring- he's just as human as the rest of us, for ...more
Jean V. Naggar Literary
Aug 13, 2012 Jean V. Naggar Literary rated it it was amazing
Named one of “Ten Books That Matter” by the Project on Government Oversight for 2011

“Offers a revealing, thoughtful history of a moment when human manipulation of nature malfunctioned spectacularly...Written in a clear, conversational style...Readers will find the book accessible and agreeable...An insightful work.” --The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice

“Environmentalist Safina brings his signature compassion, marine expertise, and gorgeous writing to his candidly expressive coverage
May 15, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
While the rest of the world watched the events of the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill play out on TV Carl Safina was there poking around in places where he wasn't wanted and asking questions that the powers that be refused answer. The first part of this book are his real time reflections and his thoughts were not sentimental nor pretty. He was angry at how BP took control of the whole Gulf Coast area telling people where they could and could not go and at the draconian ways they restricted the flow of ...more
Nov 21, 2012 Shuva rated it really liked it
I read Carl Safina's book on leatherbacks, and I was intrigued when this book came out.
I wanted a diagram when reading the first chapter, but the detailed description of the operations of the rig were appreciated, as was the step by step intricacies of what happened. There's a lot of questions in the book about why the BP explosion happened, who was responsible and what was being done to clean it up, among other questions. Safina inserts himself into the book and is blunt many times about the s
Suzanne Auckerman
Jul 18, 2015 Suzanne Auckerman rated it really liked it
His books are always good. This one is about the BP blowout and while he is always fairly strident about climate change, species extinction, etc., he is downright angry through this.

While I followed it a high level, he provided a lot of detail. I waited a while to read it so that I would have an idea of the long term ramifications.

After spending a week looking for and at whales and dolphins, it is horrific what we are doing to the ocean. They actually burned the oil at sea and he talks about see
Dec 31, 2015 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Strong mixture of investigative journalism and poetic mourning.

Safina's account of the BP DWH catastrophe is at turns cynical, rational, indignant and insightful. None of the principals are spared from BP to the USCG to the EPA to NOAA. It's one thing to have an ecological disaster result from base corporate greed; however, to watch the disaster magnified by government latitudes in prevention and incompetence in response leads you to question our way of life and the institutions invested with o
Aug 02, 2011 Heidi rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Only made is about 1/2 way through. Interesting, but he swings wildly from objective observer and fact gatherer to rabid environmentalist and conspiracy theorist. This book was obviously pushed out very quickly after the disaster and it reads like it, too. I vastly prefer Carl Safina's other books.
Jul 04, 2011 Crystal rated it really liked it
Solidly reported and pretty comprehensive, if emotional in spots

Recommended if you wish to review the events and first months of the ongoing ecological and human disaster of the Deepwater Horizon blow-out relieved of the fog of the "BP Cares" damage control campaign

Concludes with call for real cost accounting of our apparently unshakable petroleum habit
Dorothy Hynous
Jan 23, 2015 Dorothy Hynous rated it it was amazing
One of the saddest books I ever read, filled with stories of unpreparedness, incompetence, lack of leadership, and downright greed.
Douglas Gorney
Nov 27, 2012 Douglas Gorney rated it really liked it
My interview with author Carl Safina in The Atlantic:
Paul rated it really liked it
Jul 24, 2013
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Sep 23, 2016
Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2012
couldn't finish it. needs an editor.
Kevin rated it really liked it
Mar 31, 2014
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Jun 06, 2013
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Aug 21, 2011
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Dec 14, 2013
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Dec 18, 2012
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Aug 27, 2013
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Dec 10, 2012
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Nov 27, 2014
Karen rated it it was amazing
Nov 06, 2012
Steve rated it it was ok
Jul 07, 2011
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May 03, 2014
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Feb 23, 2013
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Carl Safina’s work has been recognized with MacArthur, Pew, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and his writing has won Orion, Lannan, and National Academies literary awards and the John Burroughs, James Beard, and George Rabb medals. He has a PhD in ecology from Rutgers University. Safina is the inaugural holder of the endowed chair for nature and humanity at Stony Brook University, where he co-chairs ...more
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