A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage Walker & Company, HK$135 Bottled water is a US$46 billion industry, the bulk of it consumed in a developed world already well supplied with clean water. Ironically, a lot of the water labelled with glaciers actually comes from municipal water supplies. Tom Standage, technology writer at The Economist, says humankind has gone full circle in its need to keep the body hydrated. It was early recognised that water could also kill us, so we developed ways of making it safe to drink and thus history was writ - beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea and the ubiquitous Coca-Cola. Want of rum was behind slavery and the American revolution, tea led to the opium wars with China, beer built the pyramids, coffee led to the age of enlightenment because people weren't drunk all the time, and Coca-Cola became the second-most understood utterance on the planet, after 'OK'. However, water is the essential ingredient. And it is over water, not oil, that the next big war will be fought, many have warned. Dafur is about water, which also explains much of the conflict in the Middle East, especially when one country wants to grow oranges in the desert.