Irrigating India : My Five Years as a USAID Advisor

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9780970653130: Irrigating India : My Five Years as a USAID Advisor
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Few of us can imagine what it must be like to live in a time and place where basic human needs like water and food seem nearly unattainable. Sol Resnick, a civil and agricultural engineer, was sent to India in 1952, as part of the US State Department’s Agency for International Development (AID). AID’s mission was to help emerging nations develop their own economies, thereby creating additional international markets for US goods. His job was to train engineers and teach Indian villagers new methods of irrigation. Resnick’s personal mission was to literally irrigate India, which had been decimated after two consecutive years of drought.

“You forget the temperatures that could reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit,” says Resnick, recalling the experience. “You forget the lack of air conditioning. The unfamiliar food. You remember the looks on the faces of the people. They stay in your mind forever.”

Resnick offers a very personal view of a tumultuous passage in Indian history. At its most basic level, the book is a captivating collection of personal stories by an engineer working in the heart of India in the 1950s. At its most complex, it’s a rich history of a struggling nation just passing through the threshold of independence.

Resnick’s recollections, as told to and written by his wife, Elaine Minow Resnick, provide a fascinating look into the foibles of the caste system and bureaucracy of the time, as well as the visionary leaders and hardworking people of both countries. The AID project ultimately succeeded because the US did not simply give aid to India, it provided training for Indian villagers by American men and women who went out into the fields and worked with them. People like Sol Resnick.

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From the Inside Flap:

India often elicits extreme reactions from visitors to its shore. Fortunate are those who discover the true essence of this rich and ancient culture. Sol Resnick not only came to appreciate India but gave the Indian people more in five years than most have in a lifetime. His captivating story is one of extreme compassion, courage, and caring for his fellow mankind. Elaine Minow Resnick’s vibrant writing makes her husban’d experiences in India come alive! Dr. Prem Sharma

Author of Mandalay’s Child

About the Author:

Sol Resnick, Professor Emeritus Hydrology and Director Emeritus of the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona, received his BS and MS in Civil Engineering and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Wisconsin. He has worked all over the world for World Bank and USAID and taught at universities in the United States, Israel, Brazil and Thailand.

In 1997, Resnick married Elaine Minow Burton, a retired attorney. He claims he fell in love with her when she was just two-and-a-half, but was very slow to propose. They live in Tucson Arizona.

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