About the Book
Celebrated for its natural beauty and its abundance of wildlife, the Mekong River runs thousands of miles through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Its basin is home to more than 70 million people and has for centuries been one of the world's richest agricultural areas and a biodynamic wonder. Today, however, it is undergoing profound changes. Development policies, led by a rising China in particular, aim to interconnect the region and urbanize the inhabitants. And a series of dams will harness the river's energy, while also stymieing its natural cycles and cutting off food supplies for swathes of the population.
In Last Days of the Mighty Mekong, Brian Eyler travels from the river's headwaters in China to its delta in southern Vietnam to explore its modern evolution. Along the way he meets the region's diverse peoples, from villagers to community leaders, politicians to policy makers. Through conversations with them he reveals the urgent struggle to save the Mekong and its unique ecosystem.
Why We Recommend It: Last Days of the Mighty Mekong is recommended for anyone interested in environmental studies and cultural anthropology. The Mekong river stretches from China down to Cambodia and its basin, as you learn in the book, is home to more than 70 million people. Eyler sheds light on the impact that dams along the Mekong are having on the environment and its ties and impact on the diverse communities that rely on it. Eyler shares his research and warnings in a truly impactful way that urges readers to pay close attention to this issue.
About the Author
Brian Eyler directs the Southeast Asia Program and the Energy, Water, and Sustainability Program. He is an expert on transboundary issues in the Mekong region and specializes in China’s economic cooperation with Southeast Asia. He spent more than 15 years living and working in China and over the last two decades has conducted extensive research with stakeholders in the Mekong region. He is widely recognized as a leading voice on environmental, energy, and water security issues in the Mekong. Brian is co-lead on the Mekong Dam Monitor, the winner of 2021 Esri Special Achievement in GIS Award, 1st Prize in the 2021 Prudence Foundation’s Disaster Tech Competition, and the Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s 2021 Outstanding Achievement Award. He also serves as chair of the Stimson Center’s War Legacy Working Group. His first book, Last Days of the Mighty Mekong, was published by Zed Books in 2019. He holds a MA from the University of California, San Diego and a BA from Bucknell University.