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The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,057 ratings  ·  500 reviews
What if Atlantis wasn't a myth but an early precursor to a new age of great flooding? Across the globe, scientists and civilians alike are noticing rapidly rising sea levels and higher and higher tides pushing more water directly into the places we live, from our most vibrant, historic cities to our last remaining traditional coastal villages. With each crack in the great ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company
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Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone, particularly young people, Floridians, coasties and Trumpsters
For too long the national climate debate has centered on "is it real?" and "is it man-made?" How this occurred is likely the subject of another book, but what Goodell has done here is expose how thousands of powerful people (but only thousands! They need support!) are currently working to mitigate the effects of climate change while simultaneously reassuring the public there is absolutely no need to panic or change. Ah, politics. Can you inspire change without fear?

The book is a curious blend of
I read The Water Will Come under hazy yellow skies, with the scent of woodsmoke hanging heavy in hot air, my car dusted with a light coating of ash. It took effort to breathe, the air thick and sickly. Forest fires all around me: searing British Columbia to the north, racing through the Cascades Mountains to the east, Olympics to the west, Oregon to the south.

We endure damp and dreary winters for the glory that is summer in the Pacific Northwest; months of blue skies, gentle warmth and sunshine
Bam cooks the books ;-)
The water will come. Anyone who has ever lived near water knows that water will find its way in if it has a mind to. This book is largely about rising sea levels caused by climate change and melting glaciers and its impact on our society, for the truth is our climate is changing and causing unusual weather patterns and problems around the world.

Personal experiences: Our midwest home has been flooded twice by creek water in the last ten years after torrential rain storms. And while we were in Ar
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Jeff Goodell traveled the world to report on how rising sea levels are impacting human society across the globe. His new book The Water Will Come takes readers to shrinking Alaskan glaciers with President Obama and into the flood-prone homes of impoverished people living in Lagos, Nigeria.

"By that time, I'll be dead, so what does it matter?" Quote from a Florida real estate developer, The Water Will Come

I long wondered how bad it would get before people broke down and changed how we live and do
The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World was a riveting look at global warming by journalist Jeff Goodell and its manifestations throughout the world, primarily focusing on Miami, New York City, New Orleans, and Venice as well as many other countries, including the Marshall Islands. Goodell not only discusses the effects of global warming but also the rapidly rising seal levels and higher and higher tides as well as the effects of rising temperatu ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2019, lor-2019
Thoughts soon.
A cross between eye-opening and frightening. I know about the sea water rising but it has not really clicked yet, all the urgency. The book, which is very easy to read, with examples of what people (including politicians, scientists, military, urban planners) all over the world are doing (or not) about this incoming apocalypse. Would love to have more Southern representation though.

Anyway, the science stuff is easy to digest so no worries about that part. What worries me is that even during the
Stephen Selbst
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a journalist's book posing as serious writing. The potential for coastal flooding caused by rapidly rising sea levels is genuine and acute.This is a superficial look at the problem, unnecessarily padded with character sketches of some of the politicians, engineers, scientists and activists involved. Their lives may be more or less interesting, but their individual stories are nearly irrelevant to the issues the book half-heartedly addresses. This is a topic worthy of a more serious and s ...more
William Liggett
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I just returned from a Christmas break in the South Bay part of Los Angeles where multimillion-dollar houses have been built along the strand next to the beach. I was curious why no one seems to be concerned about sea level rise. On the East Coast, and southern Florida in particular, the sea is already encroaching with every storm and high tide.

Jeff Goodell's book, The Water Will Come, provides some answers. He describes how many parts of Florida were swamplands before they were drained and sol
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's October and in theory I should be reading something scary. Then again, this is pretty scary. Jeff Goodell, a journalist and a climate expert, creates a hauntingly vivid picture of a very wet world to come. Traveling the world, visiting coastal cities across the globe that can potentially become the next Atlantis, he talks to experts and locals to gain a well rounded perspective of the threats they are facing and the realities of their lives. This isn't a mere alarmist reporting, it's a thor ...more
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: societies, science
We are so screwed. Disaster is coming, and we are just going to sit here until it hits, then ask why we weren’t prepared. No one knows how much the seas will rise by 2100: three feet, six, fifteen? There are scientists supporting all of those numbers. Any solution, even for the lowest estimate, will be horrendously expensive, and the uncertainty of the scope of the problem, combined with the lack of political foresight and courage, the next-election-only time horizon, and the aversion to raising ...more
Emma Sea
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A very easy read that focuses on the upcoming consequences of sea level rise and does not attempt to convince with hard science. If you're not convinced now, no book will do it. Many elegant and poignant parts that wrenched my soul. ...more
Tyler J Gray
Very readable, well written, and packed with information. It shows how much work went into making this book and making sure nothing was left out, while making it accessible at the same time.

It's horrifying what is happening to our planet. People are already suffering. Evidence for climate change is everywhere, just open your eyes. This book will show you. I already believed in climate change and knew it's a problem, but I had no idea just how much. How places like Miami, Nigeria, Venice, are str
Apr 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, nonfiction
From Obama to Marshal Island Royalty, the villains and heroes of Miami, Dutch architects and die hard New Jersey coastal residents, Goodell has gathered the screaming voices of the climate change zeitgeist.

Well organized, informative, and entertaining - this is a must read.
Olia Brightside
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: green, business
I didn't like this book for a number of reasons. Even though it did offer some interesting facts and food for thought like contaminated water and how it affects Miami citizens, the Architectural problem of Venice and floating houses of Laos as a solution for poor drowning regions, I fond the style and structure of the book incredibly BORING, weird and underdeveloped. Seriously, when I bought this book I thought to myself" Yes! This is something really epic! Like a dystopian tragedy but based on ...more
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-ish
This is, as you'd expect, a pretty discouraging book. Goodell does keep it interesting, covering sea rise related issues from a variety of angles and interviewing experts in coastal cities on topics ranging from sea rise resistant architecture, septic tank related problems, challenges facing military bases and installations, flood insurance and the obligations of governments to those who rebuild in high risk areas, etc. Occasionally he suggests small areas of hopefulness, such as architects with ...more
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, arcs
Thanks to Little, Brown and Company via NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It has not influenced my thoughts or opinions about this book.

Throughout this book, Goodell explores geographic regions and innovative technologies to see what can be done to reduce the impact of rising water. Ultimately, there are some questions that emerge:

- How can we depoliticize climate change and show the real and impending impact on human civilization?
- How will governments address buy-outs
Amanda Van Parys
Well, that was scary. As a person who lives in FL and within 5 miles of the shore, this is horrifying. During the hurricane season of 2017, I was talking to my dad after Irma barely missed a direct hit on us in the Tampa Bay area saying some of the exact things outlined in this book, and I quote: "FL is f*cked, we need to get out of here."

And I'm completely fine leaving the godforsaken land of FL, in fact, I want to. But I'll tell you one thing, it's hard to just pack up your life and move away
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
Just invest the 5o minutes of Goodall's presentation covering and updating the essentials of this book.

The book itself doesn't give too many additional insights, as the elaboration stays more on the surface. This is certainly more in essay style than a scientific rendering (which I didn't expect). But most often, I felt detached by the author's descriptions of interview partner's clothing or facial expression. I bought the hardcover edition, because I saw that there are numerous graphs and pict
67th book for 2017.

A disappointingly superficial account of an important topic.

Each chapter seems to involve Goodell meeting some important person who isn't aware/doesn't care about sea-level rise, and at some point Goodell will be wading through water at some high-tide here or there (New York, Miami, Venice etc). There was way too much emphasis on Miami and not enough of a global perspective.

If you haven't read any other book on global warming this book would be OK, but there are much better
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: eco
Published in 2017, Jeff Goodell's The Water Will Come is one journalist's attempt to broadly explain what the rising seas will mean. He travels to Miami, the Netherlands, Venice, the Marshall Islands, New York City, Arctic glaciers... But there is more here than a whirlwind tour, and I was particularly struck by what the rising water means for climate adaptation.

Adaptation seems like a bit of a dirty word when I read green discourse. Here's why. Typical greens like Al Gore will point out that Mi
Aug 20, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
The Austin Public Library just recommended this to me so I am leaning into my tinfoil hat
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell

“The Water Will Come” is a very good book that realistically depicts the future we are creating for our children and grandchildren. Contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the author of five books including the award-winning Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate takes the reader on a dive into the rising water levels of our planet. This insightful 332-page book includes the following twelve
080120: every year in february i visit my mom’s hometown of waimea, kauai, where she and dad now have a condo. on the beach. so far we have had no tsunamis or hurricanes to wipe out the town, though the last two hurricanes did some damage. this is nothing compared to the future in this book, for the town is mostly less than two metres above sea level... even in the kindest projected rise it will be gone in hundred years or less...

i also recognize the desire for people who want to stay in low-lyi
Camelia Rose
The Water Will Come is a heavy book to read. When I finally put it down, France is being hit by the worst heat wave in recorded history and Greenland ice sheet is facing yet another big year of melting.

The subtitle says "Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World", but the focus is the first half: rising seas and sinking cities. 70% of the book talks only about American cities and politics, which is a little disappointing.

Main cities and places covered in the book:
-- M
Mary & Tom
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science, environment
Goodell's book The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World should convince those climate change nay sayers that we all need to be concerned about rising seas as the result of melting glaciers.

What makes Goodell's book interesting is the amount of time and travel that he has invested in investigating his facts. He has spoken to many experts in the fields of building, weather, geology, and climate. He has also visited with people living in the areas m
Apr 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reality-bytes
Started well, with a real feel of depth and importance. Gradually segued into character sketches and mood pieces betraying it's journalistic origins. I would have liked a little more on the knock on effects of sea level rise, something to open the eyes of people who don't live on the coast and think it won't affect them.
A good read with scary clarity in places, but could have been so much more.
Feb 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
« 4.5 stars »

This should be required reading for everyone. Especially those in urban design and policy making.

Before I read this book I was already concerned about climate change and rising sea levels yet I had no idea that the problem wasn't just that coastal cities would be submerged by seawater, or that millions of human beings (as well as countless animals and plants) would be displaced, but that rising sea levels alone would unleash a host of disastrous impacts on us all. In this book Jeff
Enjoyed this one a lot more than I thought I would - talks about a terrifying subject without getting preachy or panicky, but at the same time talks with urgency about what needs to be addressed now.
Michelle Curie
Dec 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, science
This book starts out with a post-apocalyptic vision of what our world would be like if we let the water levels rise further. Let me tell you one thing: it's not looking good.

Jeff Goodell is a long-time contributor to the Rolling Stones magazine and has been writing about environmental issues for a while now. In The Water Will Come he focusses on the manifestations of the rising seas and what that means for the cities and civilisations that it will affect.

He's looking at cities like Miami, New
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Jeff Goodell's latest book The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World was published by Little, Brown in 2017. It was picked as one of the 50 best non-fiction books of the year by The Washington Post as well as a New York Times Critics' Top Book of 2017.

His previous books include How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Ear

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The last five years of world history have been nothing if not...eventful. When living in interesting times, there's nothing better for...
79 likes · 14 comments
“When I asked the mayor if flood insurance rates had gone up after Sandy, he said, “Not really.” This is how disaster relief works in America. There are lots of incentives to rebuild but few incentives to rebuild differently, much less to rethink the long-term future of cities and towns along the coast.” 6 likes
“Will we welcome people who flee submerged coastlines and sinking islands—or will we imprison them?” 4 likes
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