Charles A. Bergman, Professor of English at Pacific Lutheran University
"Water rights are fiercely protected in the desert American Southwest. In cases such as the Colorado River, which drains into Mexico's Gulf of California, these battles can sometimes trigger international arguments. Since the Water Treaty of 1944, the United States has claimed rights to 90 percent of the Colorado's water, reducing the river to a comparative trickle by the time it reaches Mexican soil and as a result adversely affecting the lush delta region. Academic Bergman (Wild Echoes: Encounters with North America's Most Endangered Species) spent three years studying and photographing the endangered delta. His book, developed with the assistance of the activist group Defenders of Wildlife, creates vivid impressions of the species and habitats of the delta's past and its possibly hopeful future. In the second part, Bergman outlines the legal and political strategies for overturning the Treaty of 1944 and encouraging, instead, laws recognizing that nature is not contained within the artificial boundaries of nations. As he notes, there is scientific evidence that, if water rations were more equitably distributed, the delta would flourish once again. Although his prose is occasionally weighed down by dry facts and figures, the author's passion for the environment and his empathy for the people of the delta shine through the text. This issue is more than just a local squabble, and Bergman's book belongs in all strong in-depth and comprehensive environmental collections."