As cleanup from Hurricane Sandy segues to rebuilding, Sweet & Salt could have been ripped from newspaper headlines. The not-sounderlying theme is of the Dutch as canaries in the global-warming coal mine. Much of Holland’s most productive land is below sea level, so the Dutch are acutely aware of subtle changes in the rivers, seas, and weather that get lost in all the background noise masking the climate-change debate in America. After all, Holland has built its culture, social arrangements, and urban planning around controlling water for hundreds of years.
Sweet & Salt: Water and the Dutch, by Tracy Metz and Maartje van den Heuvel. Rotterdam: NAi publishers, 2012, distributed in the U.S. by D.A.P), 296 pages, $45.