Item Details

The Source: How Rivers Made America and America Remade Its Rivers

Martin Doyle
Format
Book
Published
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2018]
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Variant Title
How rivers made America and America remade its rivers
ISBN
9780393242355, 0393242358
Summary
A history of the role of rivers in shaping American politics, economics, and society draws on experts from diverse backgrounds to explore how the natural and human transformations of rivers have made a significant impact on the nation.
"America has more than 250,000 rivers, coursing over more than 3 million miles, connecting the disparate regions of the United States. On a map they can look like the veins, arteries, and capillaries of a continent-wide circulatory system, and in a way they are. Over the course of this nation's history rivers have served as integral trade routes, borders, passageways, sewers, and sinks. Over the years, based on our shifting needs and values, we have harnessed their power with waterwheels and dams, straightened them for ships, drained them with irrigation canals, set them on fire, and even attempted to restore them. In this fresh and powerful work of environmental history, Martin Doyle tells the epic story of America and its rivers, from the U.S. Constitution's roots in interstate river navigation, the origins of the Army Corps of Engineers, the discovery of gold in 1848, and the construction of the Hoover Dam and the TVA during the New Deal, to the failure of the levees in Hurricane Katrina and the water wars in the west. Along the way, he explores how rivers have often been the source of arguments at the heart of the American experiment--over federalism, sovereignty and property rights, taxation, regulation, conservation, and development. Through his encounters with experts all over the country--a Mississippi River tugboat captain, an Erie Canal lock operator, a dendrochronologist who can predict the future based on the story trees tell about the past, a western rancher fighting for water rights--Doyle reveals the central role rivers have played in American history--and how vital they are to its future."--Jacket.
Contents
  • Part one: Federalism. Navigating the republic ; Life on the Mississippi ; The rise of the levees ; Flood control
  • Part two: Sovereignty and property. Water wars ; A new water market
  • Part three: Taxation. Running water ; Burning rivers
  • Part four: Regulation. Regulating power ; The power of a river
  • Part five: Conservation. Channelization ; The restoration economy.
Description
349 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 313-334) and index.
Technical Details
  • Access in Virgo Classic

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