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Review: Wine to Water by Doc Hendley

Title: Wine to Water: a bartenders quest to bring clean water to the world
Author: Doc Hendley
Year Published: 2012

Genre: Adult non-fiction
Pages: 276
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Geography Connection (my Google Reading map): Sudan (mostly), Uganda, Haiti and the USA (North Carolina)

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review as part of a TLC Tour

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Doc Hendly never set out to be a hero. In 2004, Hendley, a small-town bartender, held wine-tasting events to raise awareness and funds for clean water projects around the world. He had planned to donate the proceeds through traditional channels, but instead found himself traveling to one of the world's most dangerous areas: Darfut, Sudan.

There, Doc witnessed a government-sponsored genocide where the number one weapon was water not bullets. The Janjaweed terrorists had figured out hat eliminating or contaminating water sources is remarkably efficient for mass extermination. With limited funds, Doc realized that he couldn't build new wells costing $10,000 a pop, but he could hire local workers to restore a damaged well for a mere $50 each. He'd' found his mission. Today, Doc and Wine to Water continue to help repair and maintain water-containment systems in places like Darfur, Cambodia, Uganda, and Haiti.

Review: I am such a sucker for a good non-fiction about someone helping others, making a difference, and doing what they know is right, so when I was offered this book for a TLC Tour I snapped it right up. I am so glad that I did as it lived up to my expectations and then some. I thought it would be interesting, which it is, but I didn't expect it to be as well written and fun to read.

Doc has such a great attitude toward life and that really comes out in this book. He seems game for almost anything that is thrown his way, faces it with a positive attitude, and is quite the problem-solver/do-er kind of guy.

I totally understand what it is like to create a non-profit from scratch and am so impressed with Doc's work to get Wine to Water up and running. He managed to do a great job of getting the word out about his work and living in Darfur for the first year is what did it. He has stories and photos to back up his words.

The writing style in this book is easy, which I thought might not work with the serious situations and content of the book. However, it does work. And the writing style matches Doc's attitude toward life, emphasizing his optimistic view of life's possibilities. This is not to say that he doesn't understand the enormity of the situation in Darfur. He is very aware of how much he has and how little the refugees and other villagers have. He appreciates what he has to offer, but certainly doesn't have the attitude that he knows better than the Sudanese. I really liked that he hired locals and showed the villagers how to repair their wells so that after he and Wine to Water are gone they can continue to get clean water.

Clean water. It's such a basic necessity yet out of reach for so many. Through in the Janjaweed (and, yes, there are some details about those horrors) and this book has action, philosophy, and human interest.

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