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River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basinby Stephen Most
Synopses & Reviews
"Most tells these stories in the voices of the protagonists, who give the basin's complex history an illuminating immediacy that infuses the entire book. It is a mark of his achievement that he has been able to make these historical, cultural, and environmental pieces into a comprehensive whole. River of Renewal is the best source available for those wishing to think clearly about this cumulative tragedy, as well as a first-rate model for regional land use anywhere in the American West." -Orion Magazine
A land of mountains, forests, wetlands, lakes, and rivers, the Klamath Basin spans the Oregon-California state line. Farms and ranches, logging towns, and back-to-the-land communities are scattered over this 10-million-acre bioregion. There are Indian reservations at the headwaters, at the estuary, and across the major tributary of the Klamath River. In this place that has witnessed, ever since the Gold Rush, a succession of wars and resource conflicts, myths of the West loom large, amplifying differences among its inhabitants.
At the core of the contemporary controversy is overallocation of the waters of the Klamath Basin. This dispute has pitted farmers and ranchers against those whose cultures and livelihoods depend upon fishing and others who would forestall the extinction of wild salmon. Yet it has also revealed the unity of the Klamath Basin, the interdependence of economic recovery with ecological restoration, and the urgency for all the communities within the Basin to find common ground.
Stephen Most is a playwright and documentary storyteller. He has contributed to numerous documentary films, including Emmy Award winners Wonders of Nature and Promises and the Academy Award-nominated Berkeley in the Sixties. His plays Medicine Show, Watershed, and A Free Country dramatize events in Pacific Northwest history.
To listen to an interview with Stephen Most entitled "Fished Out: Draining the Seas of Their Bounty," please visit: http://www.aworldofpossibilities.com/
Book News Annotation:
Playwright and documentary storyteller Most drew from oral history, written narratives, and historical documentation to create this composite of perspectives on the Klamath basin, which covers large parts of southern Oregon and northern California. The myths of Bigfoot and the trickster Coyote are set in the area, and Rosicrucian scripture describes a seven foot tall race of humans that lived on Mount Shasta. Ancient narratives from the numerous indigenous tribes in the region are woven with the political history of the many contentions over water distribution and salmon protection. Farmers from the U.S. and abroad, trappers, explorers, natives, and back-to-the-land urban transplants are among the characters who populate and inform Most's stories. Some b&w photographs and maps of the region are included. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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