The Death and Life of the Great Lakes

Dan Egan (Author)

Overview | Formats

New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Winner of the J. Anthony Lukas Award

"Nimbly splices together history, science, reporting and personal experiences into a taut and cautiously hopeful narrative.… Egan’s book is bursting with life (and yes, death)." —Robert Moor, New York Times Book Review

The Great Lakes—Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior—hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work, and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • April 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-35555-0
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 384 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverThe Death and Life of the Great Lakes


Endorsements & Reviews

“Suspenseful, superbly informative, crucial.” — Louise Erdrich

“Fascinating and brilliant… Egan’s narrative often moves like a thriller.” — Vicky Albritton and Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Easy to read, offering well-paced, intellectually stimulating arguments, bolstered by well-researched and captivating narratives.” — Lekelia Danielle Jenkins, Science

“Dan Egan has done more than any other journalist in America to chronicle the decline of this once-great ecosystem.” — Judges’ citation, Grantham Award of Special Merit for Environmental Beat Reporting

“A compelling chronicle of the many, many (many) man-caused hazards that have threatened the largest source of accessible freshwater in the world.” — Susan Glaser, Cleveland Plain Dealer

“A marvelous work of nonfiction, which tells the story of humanity’s interference with the natural workings of the world’s largest unfrozen freshwater system.” — Anne Moore, Crain’s Chicago Business

“Important.… Egan’s book serves as a reminder that the ecological universe we inhabit is vastly connected and cannot be easily mended by humility and good intentions.” — Meghan O’Gieblyn, Boston Review

“Egan’s knowledge, both deep and wide, comes through on every page, and his clear writing turns what could be confusing or tedious material into a riveting story.” — Margaret Quamme, Columbus Dispatch

“Brings the Great Lakes’ decline—and moments of rebirth—to life.… Firsthand tales from the people directly involved in the Great Lakes’ unfolding ecological drama drive Egan’s brisk narrative forward.” — Danielle S. Furlich, Nature Conservancy magazine

“A literary clarion call.… Egan’s narrative reflects a nuanced understanding of history and science, which is matched by his keen perceptions about public policy.” — National Book Review

“This book feels urgent to policymakers and laypersons alike.” — Kerri Arsenault, Literary Hub

All Subjects