The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens Our Natural World

Craig Simons, Author
Craig Simons. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-312-58176-3
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-250-02318-6
Paperback - 295 pages - 978-1-250-05013-7
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-1-877551-88-8
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-877551-96-3
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Environmental journalist Simons, who spent years reporting from Asia, recounts his adventures witnessing the mind-boggling extent of devastation wreaked on the Chinese—and global—landscape by unchecked growth. Pairing on-site observations and interviews with data taken from academic research and government reports, the author paints a dire picture of the wanton destruction of entire ecosystems, choking pollution that shaves years off of life expectancy, and massive climate change, which he predicts will become “humanity’s most important challenge.” Simons’s tour of the Three Gorges Dam, which has displaced millions of people and could mean extinction for dozens of species, reveals a tightly controlled propaganda operation designed to hide any downside risk, which only foreigners are foolish enough to ask about. Meanwhile, Chinese industry is turning some of the last old-growth forests in India and Papua New Guinea into furniture, and darkening the air with soot half a world away over the Rocky Mountains. As lively and colorful as it is depressing and enraging, the book is long on anecdotes, but short on concrete policy suggestions. Simons’s vague recommendation that “we need to think differently” leads one to suspect that the situation will only get worse. Agent: Janet Silver, Zachary Schuster Harmsworth. (Mar.)
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