Marc Reisner Cadillac Desert

ISBN 13: 9780140104325

Cadillac Desert

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9780140104325: Cadillac Desert

Part One Of Two Parts

The story of the American West is the story of the relentless quest to control and allocate nature's most common, and the West's most precious, resource: water. CADILLAC DESERT recounts this dramatic saga.

The early settlers were lured by free land. But there was not enough water to sustain them, and they drifted on. Only the Mormons stayed, carefully tending a system of irrigation canals that tempered perpetual drought. Their success gave birth to federal aid programs, principally the Bureau of Reclamation. Without the bureau, without Hoover, Shasta and Grand Coulee, the West as we know it would not exist.

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Dams ostensibly provide indispensable economic development through flood control, irrigation, and recreation. Goldsmith and Hildyard, with examples from throughout the world, demolish the common justifications for large dams. They advocate traditional irrigation as environmentally sound and economically beneficial. Reisner focuses more narrowly on North America in his portrayal of the personalities and agencies (e.g., Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), and the manipulation and deceit through which water policy in the United States has evolved. This policy, a form of financial vandalism of the future, has made us rich but our descendants insecure. Cadillac Desert describes serious, perhaps fatal threats to the miraculous desert civilization of the West. With different approaches, both volumes take effective aim at the vested interests that perpetuate unsound water resource development. Both volumes contain insights for the specialist and the wider public. James R. Karr, Smithsonian Tropical Research Inst., Balboa, Panama
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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