This book, based on wide-ranging research on water, views the world through the rippling, complex lens of water. It looks at the emergence of civilizations and their decay, delves into creation myths, ponders the place of water in the human psyche as expressed in art and poetry and folklore, considers its role as a factor of production, a source of energy, a conduit of transportation, and a consumer good, examines changing concepts of physical and spiritual cleanliness, and notes the magical powers of springs and wishing wells and rainmakers. It reveals how this colorless, tasteless, and odorless substance has made such an impact on our bodies and our souls. Like water itself, it meanders far and wide, and it may, just possibly, restore our sense of wonder at this elixir of life. Nina Selbst's pellucid and friendly style of writing and her overflowing enthusiasm for her subject assure the reader not only an enlightening experience but also a pleasurable one.