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Foundation and Empire
Isaac Asimov
Animal Wise: The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures
Virginia Morell

A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher

A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher - Joel Achenbach This was a gripping book. It brought back very vivid memories of that summer, and accurately captured the feeling that pervaded the atmosphere - the desperation, the despair, the sickening nausea at the pit of my stomach. Even though I didn't live there, I drove down to the coast myself, to witness a little of what was actually happening - the deserted beaches at the height of summer, the dead fish and globs of oil washing up, the sensation of entering a ghost town of sorts (or several ghost towns, in my case). I have family and friends there that were directly impacted, and even for those that didn't/don't, this story still affects us all.

Even with all of the painful parts, this book had the effect of retroactively soothing my soul, in part. There were so many things that were covered that I never had the least notion were occurring as they happened. Numerous scenarios were workshopped; some were attempted, some not. From a political point of view, I can understand them ("them" being the government and BP) not sharing their every plan with the public. However, it definitely made it harder for their image among the public in many ways; because we weren't aware of their plans, it felt like nothing was happening. At the time, I felt like probably someone had to be working on something; the lack of details, however, filled me with doubt and immense frustration. There were many people working around the clock on this issue, and this book goes into detail on them and what they did.

My only real complaint with the book was the sometimes highly technical parts that were sort of skimmed over. I wished that he had gone into more detail at times. He would mention things - machinery, parts, processes - and then move on, without providing a clearer picture for the more uneducated (in drilling) mind. Maybe I just have weak spatial thinking skills, but I had a difficult time visualizing some of the things that he talked about - the machinery, the size of things, the rig itself, certain procedures they used, and so on. I wished that some images could have been included in the book, illustrating the concepts that he discussed. I did a lot of Google-imaging, which helped.

All in all, a highly informative and engrossing read.