Never in history has life been so complicated and full of sudden changes. Technology, the environment, and the way we work and relate to one another are all in upheaval. With wit, humor, a calm voice, and great authority, Swimming Lessons gives a clear view of what our world has become - not just our successes, but also the destruction set loose by our own genius and inventions. In addition, it offers practical, nonutopian suggestions for keeping afloat in the dangerous waters of the 21st century's globalized civilization.
Whether it is describing a comical brainstorming session in a Washington boardroom or a close encounter with an Alaskan grizzly and her cubs, Swimming Lessons is a delight to read. Trained in history, medicine, and zoology, David Ehrenfeld brings a grand perspective to his challenging task. He writes not just as a scientist, but as one who values and understands the social sciences and humanities as well. In the first half of Swimming Lessons, we learn to recognize the lies we live: about education, new military weapons systems, biotechnology, electronic pseudocommunities, and accelerated obsolescence. We also learn about the deadly corporate economics that affect every aspect of our lives, even environmental conservation. The second half reveals the pitfalls and opportunities in the main tasks we face: relating to nature in a man-made world and restoring our damaged communities.
David Ehrenfeld fills the chapters of Swimming Lessons with remarkable and often moving stories from his own life and the lives of his wife and children, colleagues, and students. This openness to the positive influences of those around him, and his appreciation of his own religious mots, help him show us that in these most perilous yet fascinating tunes the good life is still a real possibility.