John R. Gillis

When: Thu., Jan. 24, 6 p.m. 2013

Part of the reason many of us live in California is to be near the water. But in recent years, we've witnessed a number of calamities taking place on our sought-after shorelines. John R. Gillis, a historian who has taught at Rutgers, Stanford, Princeton, and UC Berkeley, dives in to explore the changing nature of, and our obsession with, the coast in The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History, a heartfelt, upfront look at more than 100,000 years of shoreline history. Gillis takes on hurricanes, beachfront real estate booms, the actual location of the Garden of Eden, the rise and fall of industrial ports, the draining and restoring of natural wetlands, and the introduction, evolution, and extinction of marine mammals. On Thursday, Jan. 24, at University Press Books (2430 Bancroft Way, Berkeley). 6 p.m., free. 510-548-0585 or UniversityPressBooks.com

Alison Peters

Price: free

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