A Sea in Flames

A Sea in Flames

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Carl Safina has been hailed as one of the top 100 conservations of the 20th century ( Audubon Magazine ) and A Sea in Flames is his blistering account of the months-long manmade disaster that tormented a region and mesmerized the nation. Traveling across the Gulf to make sense of an ever-changing story and its often-nonsensical twists, Safina expertly deconstructs the series of calamitous misjudgments that caused the Deepwater Horizon blowout, zeroes in on BP's misstatements, evasions, and denials, reassesses his own reaction to the government's crisis handling, and reviews the consequences of the leak-and what he considers the real problems, which the press largely overlooked.

Safina takes us deep inside the faulty thinking that caused the lethal explosion. We join him on aerial surveys across an oil-coated sea. We confront pelicans and other wildlife whose blue universe fades to black. Safina skewers the excuses and the silly jargon-like "junk shot" and "top kill"-that made the tragedy feel like a comedy of horrors-and highlighted Big Oil's appalling lack of preparedness for an event that was inevitable.

Based on extensive research and interviews with fishermen, coastal residents, biologists, and government officials, A Sea In Flames has some surprising answers on whether it was "Obama's Katrina," whether the Coast Guard was as inept in its response as BP was misleading, and whether this worst unintended release of oil in history was really America's worst ecological disaster.            
Impassioned, moving, and even sharply funny, A Sea in Flames is ultimately an indictment of America's main addiction. Safina writes: "In the end, this is a chronicle of a summer of pain-and hope.  Hope that the full potential of this catastrophe would not materialize, hope that the harm done would heal faster than feared, and hope that even if we didn't suffer the absolutely worst-we'd still learn the big lesson here. We may have gotten two out of three.  That's not good enough. Because: there'll be a next time."             

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307887351
Branch Call Number: 363.7382 SAF 2011 22
Characteristics: xi, 352 p. : col. ill. ; 25 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

ChristchurchLib Sep 03, 2014

In A Sea in Flames, world-renowned oceanographer (and MacArthur "Genius Award" recipient) Carl Safina discusses the 2010 Gulf of Mexico BP oil-spill disaster, including the shoddy work and safety rules that caused the event and the ineffective responses by big business and government officials after it happened. He addresses the spill's environmental impact on the many animals and people nearby, as well as the negative effects on tourism and fishing that resulted from publicity. He also points to an ongoing disaster: the global effects of other environmental pollution sources, including farm and industrial runoff and water control measures such as levees. A passionate and sobering chronicle of man-made destruction leading to natural degradation. History and Current Events newsletter September 2014.

Apr 27, 2012

A chilling book about the many ethical mishaps of BP that caused one of the biggest environmental disasters in this nation's history. Some of the photographs included in the book are absolutely chilling and the story of the residents heartbreaking. Must read. I hope BP is one day held culpable for putting profits over people.

Mar 30, 2012

Good choice if you want a low key overview of the disaster.

Safina was personally there gathering information & impressions and while a moderate as far as his general position, he does not hesitate to express confusion & frustration as he is systematically blocked by BP from access and even some of the most straight forward, basic responses to simple question. There are even a few times when when this frustration boils over to outrage or anger, when he feels local & sometimes federal officiails act as if BP owns the gulf, and the residents of the coast are annoying foreigners on vacation.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SCL

To Top