Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award
Almost 30 years since its original publication, this absorbing, no-holds-barred condemnation of water policy in the American West remains an essential book for understanding our current water crisis, with California grappling with the most severe drought in recent history and the threat of global water shortages growing ever more real. Reisner reveals how the West's transformation from a barren landscape to a lush paradise is the result of corruption, greed, and devastating environmental practices that have plagued a vast region of the country for well over a century. Regardless of where you live, this is vital reading on our most precious resource. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Newly updated, this timely history of the struggle to discover and control water in the American West is a tale of rivers diverted and damned, political corruption and intrigue, billion-dollar battles over water rights, and economic and ecological disaster. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award. Photos.
"Reisner captures Western water history in Cinemascope and Technicolor. Cadillac Desert is timely and of national importance. Hurry up and read this book." The Washington Post
"A revealing, absorbing, often amusing, and alarming report." The New York Times Book Review
"Beautifully written and meticulously researched." St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"The definitive work on the West's water crisis." --Newsweek
The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecological and economic disaster. In his landmark book, Cadillac Desert, Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. He documents the bitter rivalry between two government giants, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in the competition to transform the West. Based on more than a decade of research, Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--an Eden that may only be a mirage.
This updated study of the economics, politics, and ecology of water covers more than a century of public and private desert reclamation in the American West.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -564) and index.
About the Author
Marc Reisner worked for many years at the Natural Resources Defense Council. His Cadillac Desert was a National Book Critics Circle Award nominee. He died in 2000.
Table of Contents
Introduction: A Semidesert with a Desert Heart
Chapter One: A Country of Illusion
Chapter Two: The Red Queen
Chapter Three: First Causes
Chapter Four: An American Nile (I)
Chapter Five: The Go-Go Years
Chapter Six: Rivals in Crime
Chapter Seven: Dominy
Chapter Eight: An American Nile (II)
Chapter Nine: The Peanut Farmer and the Pork Barrel
Chapter Ten: Chinatown
Chapter Eleven: Those Who Refuse to Learn...
Chapter Twelve: Things Fall Apart
Epilogue: A Civilization, If You Can Keep It
Afterword to the Revised Edition
Notes and Bibliography