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A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia

A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia Cover

ISBN13: 9780393039368
ISBN10: 0393039366
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

This is a book about how well-intentioned Americans dammed up the Columbia, "Great River of the West", fulfilling dreams of cheap electricity and gardens flourishing in the desert. It is also a narrative of exploitation: of Native Americans, of endangered salmon, of nuclear waste, and of a river - once wild - tamed to puddled remains. Harden's story is a journey of rediscovery. His home town, Moses Lake, Washington, once bone dry, could not have existed without gargantuan irrigation schemes. His father, a Depression migrant trained as a welder, helped build dams - including Grand Coulee - and later worked at the secret Hanford plutonium plant. Now he and his neighbors, who had thought of themselves as patriots, stood accused of killing the river. As Blaine Harden traveled the thousand miles of the Columbia - by barge, by car, and sometimes on foot - his own past seemed both foreign and familiar. He met rugged individualists (albeit with government subsidies), fervent environmentalists, and Native Americans reduced to consuming canned salmon. He also encountered a newly ascendant political force whose more subtle agenda was to preserve and conserve for its own pleasure and recreation.


Includes bibliographical references (p. [247]-255) and index.

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michaelkorte1, June 11, 2007 (view all comments by michaelkorte1)
Do not agree with the posted review. A keeper and reread if History and Economic Policy and the Enviroment are of your value. This book is written Newspaper style lke the Authors eppreiences (Washington Post). It is short stories and interviews of stakeholders of the Columbia River. The past promices made, the conflicts of outcomes that were chosen that resulted in a "changed river, and and a changed economy. Examaines at deph the sucess of those schemes made years ago and the results as of 1996.
Compliments another book ""Nothwest Passage" by William Diethich (Vancouver -Columbian/ Seattle Times) 1996. which covers similar issues, in same style. Both books give a lot of information- some technical - but in newspaper fashion understandable by all.
Not wordy like a Mitchner, nor a Guide book. To get the contemporary background of todays enviromental issues, and stake holders, both are a "must read set."
--> Forces the Reader to realize the same facts are interpeted by our own experiences, values into entirely different beliefs and opinions. A seldom seen or writen about human condition.

I seldom say "keepers" or "must read" but for these 2 books, yes it is fitting.

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Product Details

Harden, Blaine
W. W. Norton & Company
New York :
Real Estate
Economic Development
Water resources development
Environmental degradation
Columbia river and valley
Grand coulee dam
Environmental degradation -- Columbia River Region.
Water resources development -- Columbia River Region -- History.
Real Estate - General
Economic development -- Social aspects.
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Publication Date:
June 1996
271 p.
9.54x6.53x1.05 in. 1.25 lbs.

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Geography » Water and Hydrology
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » Columbia River
History and Social Science » Pacific Northwest » History
Science and Mathematics » Environmental Studies » General

A River Lost: The Life and Death of the Columbia
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 271 p. pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393039368 Reviews:
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