The Making of an American Sea

Jack E Davis

Liveright Publishing

Illustrated; 592 pages; $29.95

For those who live distant from it, the Gulf of Mexico made its most vivid appearance on the national stage for all the wrong reasons: the biggest accidental oil spill ever to occur in offshore waters. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout poured 4.9 million barrels of crude into the gulf, damaged beaches and coastal estuaries, and poisoned marine life up and down the food chain, from algae to dolphins. The burning drill rig and underwater plume of hydrocarbons was a …